This article showcases our top picks for the Leadership Books For Managers. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below).
We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.
The Future of Work has arrived. And it’s powered by empathy. We are in a period of change. We need to think and act differently. The new world of work is significantly more digitized and decentralized than before―a transformation accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. We need to orient ourselves differently to be successful, shifting from transactional to human-centric management, mindsets, and methods to deal with the faster pace of business developments, continuing uncertainties, more complex issues, and an increase in multidimensional projects. In Empathy Works, work futurist, international keynote speaker, popular online course instructor and workforce consultant Sophie Wade shows you why empathy is a critical corporate value, mindset, and skill for improving engagement and productivity, and achieving sustained growth as we emerge from the pandemic. Sharing data and insights from brain science, organizational psychology, as well as real situations, stories, and solutions from around the world, Wade guides you through the steps to cultivate empathy throughout both the Customer Journey and the Employee Journey―encompassing culture and leadership, managing distributed workers, fostering effective sales teams, and bridging generations. You’ll learn how to integrate empathy habits into management practices and daily operations, nurturing customer experiences empowered by human-centric connection and understanding. You will be able to gain sustainable competitive advantage by cultivating a more supportive, meaningful, and positive workplace as you manage, motivate, and enhance team performance and business results. An invaluable resource for both established and rising executives and managers, Empathy Works provides you with essential insights and knowledge to adapt, thrive, and grow―no matter what the future holds. You’ll learn how to integrate empathy habits into management practices and daily operations, nurturing customer experiences empowered by human-centric connection and understanding. You will be able to gain sustainable competitive advantage by cultivating a more supportive, meaningful, and positive workplace as you manage, motivate, and enhance team performance and business results. An invaluable resource for both established and rising executives and managers, Empathy Works provides you with essential insights and knowledge to adapt, thrive, and grow―no matter what the future holds.
Cut through the hype and unlock the game-changing potential of conversational AI. In Age of Invisible Machines, celebrated tech leader Robb Wilson delivers an eye-opening and startlingly insightful blueprint for leveraging conversational AI in order to make your organization self-driving—with a growing ecosystem of interconnected automations accelerating all aspects of your business. Conversational AI is changing the nature of every job at every company (starting yesterday) and this book is relevant for anyone who will be affected by the acceleration of these technologies. You’ll learn how to develop a strategy for hyperautomation by identifying the outdated processes and systems holding your organization back. You’ll discover ways of internalizing and orchestrating new technologies that are force-multipliers for rapid growth. A must-read for every business leader, Wilson’s book debunks common myths about conversational AI while laying bare the inevitable complexity of restructuring your business to unlock the massive opportunities this new era affords. You’ll also find: – Compelling discussions of the ethical dilemmas that lie in wait as mass adoption of conversational AI takes hold – Fascinating explorations of what a self-driving organization looks like and how you can use conversational AI to create a durable competitive advantage – Strategies behind creating an ecosystem for hyperautomation that any company can begin implementing immediately – QR links to ongoing, interactive online discussions of the material covered in each chapter An essential and practical discussion of the future of conversational AI and hyperautomation, Age of Invisible Machines belongs in the hands of founders, entrepreneurs, business leaders, designers, tech enthusiasts, and anyone else with a stake in the future of business.
My favorite business book is as much a personal development book as it is a business book. It is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. After reading it, I realized I had to change myself before I could change my team. As leaders, we must earn respect, and not demand it. The book’s lessons on moral authority, not formal authority, are invaluable. Understanding the emotional bank account also has helped me build what I believe is one of the strongest teams in the US. Using this book, I took a company from $3000 a month to over $1,000,000 a month in sales. I had to change in order to lead effectively and this book will change you if you read and apply what is in it. It was named the most influential book of the 20thcentury. It will improve your marriage, your relationship with your children, and your business.
This product was recommended by Jake Marmulstein from Groundbreaker
This book is a great read for leaders as it talks about real-life stories of success. The action plans are simple and actionable and everyone can do them. The only thing left is for you to do them in real life as it leaves no room for doubt.
This product was recommended by Caitlyn Parish from Cicinia
The core idea of this book is that the impact of a leader’s position is often beyond what they realise. The executive board’s leadership cascades down to the management hierarchy, which in turn cascades down to the individuals who work in the firm’s offices and factory floors, influencing the organisation’s culture which ultimately gets back to the leader, as a result of his or her leadership. An excellent read for managers looking to understand the impact of their leadership on employees, the organization and eventually, on themselves.
This product was recommended by Linda Shaffer from Checkr
This book explores how even the most successful companies can fail when they don’t embrace change. It’s a must-read for any manager who wants to stay ahead of the curve. The Innovator’s Dilemma is also a great reminder that even the most experienced leaders need to continue learning. As Christensen writes, The only way to win is to keep learning and be open to change. If you’re looking for a leadership book that will challenge your thinking and help you stay ahead of the curve, The Innovator’s Dilemma is a must-read.
This product was recommended by Viktor Holas from Wise Barber
Something that creates a good leader is the opportunity to do something different. Buckingham and Coffman heavily highlight how the most successful managers go against the grain. Rather than trying to lead people through their weaknesses, they push their employees to maximize their strengths. After reading this book, I came to believe that this type of leadership is largely missing in business, and it makes sense to some degree, as people want to be comfortable, maybe more now than ever before. This book encourages managers to step up and lead from their experience, their journey, and their painstaking testing of conventional wisdom. I really enjoyed the encouragement to push boundaries, not for the sake of breaking rules just because, but so that you can know what works because you’ve tested it, not relying on what’s been done before. That is true leadership that people gravitate toward. Must read for managers!
I have over 30 years of experience managing brick-and-mortar retail stores and have read quite a few books on traditional managerial leadership. *The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors *is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Even though it is a story about a collection of naval destroyer captains and crews in WWII making a heroic last stand, sometimes it is a good thing as a manager to read about a situation that is infinitely more difficult than what you currently face. There is value in perspective, and although these captains are called on to lead in the most extreme role of a manager you could conceive, the parallels of their personalities under terrible circumstances is a great example for anyone in management to emulate. If these men can remain calm and steady for the sake of those under them, then so can any manager, no matter how much pressure their workplace creates.
Written by motivational speaker Simon Sinek, this book discusses the importance of defining your purpose and passion. According to Sinek, determining your why makes all the difference between access and failure.
The One Thing can be used by any manager who is looking for ways to improve their leadership skills or productivity. The author explains that there are many different things that we can do, but we should only focus on one thing at a time. It’s helped me learn how to accomplish more in less time and with less stress.
This product was recommended by Simon Bacher from Ling App
I bought this book in 2018 and read it for three hours on a plane trip from the US to Thailand. This book can help managers become more open, versatile, scalable, and sensitive. Learn the basic concept of agile business leadership and its related skills and life applications to make a difference. Managers must possess the agility to cope with the modern day’s challenges and rapid changes. To become one, take the time to analyze this playbook to become an agile leader based on the principles and experiences of a qualified author with impressive credentials.
This product was recommended by Jean Will from NiaWigs
As a business owner, I consider books a source of never-ending opportunities and unlimited ideas. This medium is vital for every manager in the industry because this influences everyone to have a better stand and encouragement. In line with this, I recommend Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art Of Managing Up By John Baldoni. To lead is to take the initiative in relationships with others. This book guides managers on where they should begin to influence and be visible to the people in their management. Also, there is a message that we must be proactive, display some common sense, and improve our performance to show our existence to our associates or the people higher than us. It explains that to sustain others is not just about talent, knowledge, and skills, but it is all about a character that managers need on their way up in their respective industries.
Personally speaking, as a founder, managing and leading employees is one of the most difficult tasks because you need to be effective for you to lead appropriately. In line with that, I found this book entitled, From Bud To Boss by Kevin Eikenberry & Guy Harris. I found this helpful as the authors themselves are expert consultants who have experience working with leaders in any industry. This book shows information about how to cope with leadership stress and anxiety. Also, it has information about how to adapt as a leader to be more effective and appropriate when leading your team.
Most leaders tend to know all things, but the key to success in these vastly changing markets is to rethink and relearn, in which the book wants us to pursue. As a founder, I have many things I thought I know already, but little did I know that the basics are important and are what even make a big impact on the business. Furthermore, the book will assist us in developing the mental and emotional strength that is required to continue and be more interested in the world enough to truly affect change.
This product was recommended by Mark Coster from FairyDigital
I believe that every new manager should take some time to read Dale Carnegie’s work “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. And this American writer and public speaker knew truly how to influence people, as as a manager, you will need the same skillset. In the book he details how active listening, genuineness, and tact can help you become a better leader and friend. He offers practical steps and explains how they work. Not only is it a great book, but it has stood the test of time, having been released in the 1930s.
It’s a book that tells you rewards like money aren’t working anymore. This book claims that leaders should be able to get to their team’s real desire and that’s what will keep them loyal and hardworking.
This book was written by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler in 2011. This mainly talks about overcoming high-stake or hard conversations and how to properly and professionally deal with them. This makes you realize that managing your emotions in this kind of situation will make you a better person and a leader.
This product was recommended by Ben Grindlow from ProXpn
As a company founder, I suggest you read The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner not just because of how expert authors are but also because I have experienced how helpful it is first-hand. I’ve learned how to handle problems in today’s reality with its given leadership wisdom both as skills to be learned and building relationships to be nurtured. You will also learn about practical ways you can handle people and how to accomplish extraordinary things.
In this book, Mark talks about the essentials of becoming an efficient manager. He talks about the importance of good communication, understanding, and motivation to build a strong team. He also guides you on how you can achieve it. If you’re new to this field, this will be a helpful read. In case you’re not an avid reader, you can also check out his podcast interview with Reading for success.
Mental and emotional traits contribute to a person’s success. Emotional intelligence allows a manager to turn into a leader because they can foresee the needs of their employees. This book by Daniel Goleman will help the reader identify their emotional strengths and weaknesses. It is an eye-opener into what a leader must avoid if they want their team to succeed.
This product was recommended by Becca Klein from BeccaKlein
In his book, Kruse argues that the best leaders are those who don’t rely on rules and instead focus on principles. He observes that the most effective leaders are often those who have a clear vision and are able to communicate it to their followers. By contrast, leaders who rely on rules tend to be less effective because they micromanage their subordinates and prevent them from thinking independently.
This book shares various real-life experiences of great leaders using strategy, execution, and leadership skills to take their company’s performance to the highest level. The author emphasizes the importance of being humble and putting what’s best for the company first as a leader.
This product was recommended by Peter Strahan from Lantech
For team leaders especially, this book is an essential read to break down the biases that are within us subconsciously in order to create a more inclusive environment with our leadership technique. Eberhardt uses stories from institutions and neighborhoods to explain the psychology behind these prejudices and how we can work through them.