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20 Best Leadership Books Everyone Should Read

Updated on Apr 02, 2020 561 views
20 Best Leadership Books Everyone Should Read

Becoming a leader doesn’t automatically make you impervious to problems.

You struggle with issues you can’t fix and the added pressure that comes from a team that’s looking up to you for solutions and directions even when you don’t have any.

You get nervous, find it difficult to make tough decisions, don’t know the best way to deal with that troublesome employee. You are stuck between being a boss or being a friend, giving orders and coming off as a dictator.

Breathe, just breathe. If you feel overwhelmed, read these 20 best leadership books for guidance.

 

Top Best Leadership Books to Read in 2020:

  1. Leadership Strategy And Tactics: Field Manual
  2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership: Follow Them  And People Will Follow You
  3. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together And Others Don’t
  4. The 5 Levels Of Leadership: Proven Steps To Maximize Your Potential
  5. Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power Of What You Say And What You Don’t
  6. Leadership: Theory And Practice
  7. The Dichotomy Of Leadership: Balancing The Challenges Of Extreme Ownership To Lead
  8. The Leadership Challenge Sixth Edition: How To Make Extraordinary Things Happen
  9. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action
  10. The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World
  11. On Becoming A Leader
  12. Wooden On Leadership
  13. Primal Leadership
  14. First, Break All The Rules: What The World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
  15. Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done
  16. Leading Change
  17. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide To Getting Things Done
  18. The One Minute Manager
  19. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership
  20. Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us

 

1. Strategy And Tactics: Field Manual  

This leadership manual by Jocko Willink is perfect for the leader who has a hard time making tough calls.

You need this book if you have just been promoted and don’t know how to give orders to your former peers, didn’t get selected for the leadership position you wanted or are not sure if you deserve to be a leader.

Strategy And Tactics is also a guide for making the toughest decisions like punishing a staff, delivering criticism up and down the chain of command, building trust between you and your subordinates, and even rewarding employees.

 

2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership: Follow Them  And People Will Follow You

By reading John C Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership, you get a first-hand account on what it means to be a leader.

In this book, Maxwell shares everything he learned from his 30-plus years of leadership, including his successes and observations he has made from watching mistakes made in business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict.

A must read for both leaders and aspiring leaders.

 

3. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together And Others Don’t

Most times, to garner the loyalty and respect of your employees, merely leading by example isn’t going to cut it. You need to be charismatic and selfless.

Simon Sinek's Leaders Eat Last, captures this essence and importance of leaders who spur their team to willing action, by sacrificing his own comfort for them.

This book is a way of getting leaders to say “you will walk through fire for me, because I will do the same for you” more often.

 

4. The 5 Levels Of Leadership: Proven Steps To Maximize Your Potential

In John C Maxwell’s 5 Levels Of Leadership, he shows what those 5 levels are, and how to master each level to become a more successful, influential and respected leader.

This book is a step by step process of improving yourself as a leader as well as improving those under you.

Which each level unlocked, your potential as a leader and gift for developing others grows. As things become clear to you, you learn to believe and invest in others to turn them into leaders as well.

 

5. Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power Of What You Say And What You Don’t

The outdated leader is the one whose team always looks to for guidance, he has a solution for every problem faced by the company, orders his workers around, tells them what to think, and won’t let them exercise free thinking.

The leader people need in this era is the one who encourages collaboration between him and his team. He tackles issues faster by encouraging people to speak up when they notice a problem, and works together with them to identify solutions.

David Marquet's  Leadership Is Language will teach you how to  choose your words, in order to  improve decision-making and execution on your team. Get the book to find out the six plays outlined for all leaders on using language.

 

6. Leadership: Theory And Practice

Did you know that a leader is only as good and effective as the efforts of his followers?

Peter G. Northouse's Leadership: Theory And Practice, clearly examines the part followers play in leadership. The book also describes the characteristics of effective and ineffective followers.

With Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaires and case studies, this book will provide you with a better understanding of your own leadership style, as well as your followers.

 

7. The Dichotomy Of Leadership: Balancing The Challenges Of Extreme Ownership To Lead

In Jocko Willink and Leif Babin's The Dichotomy Of Leadership, you will have to face the hard truth which is, to be a good leader you must be a good follower.

This book will help you understand how balancing yourself between opposite inclinations, aids in effective leadership, accomplishing missions, achieving goals, and leading your team to victory.

Attributes like skills, awareness, understanding, and dexterity are what you'll possess to be able  to use these opposite inclinations – leadership and followership, focus and detachment, aggression and prudence. Read the book to know more.

 

8. The Leadership Challenge Sixth Edition: How To Make Extraordinary Things Happen

The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner depicts both sides of the coin of leadership.  It shows leadership  as a skill to be learned, and relationship you must nurture to its full potential.

You'll gain insight from two experts, on how extraordinary leaders do extraordinary things, and how to  improve your leadership style and skills, so that you deliver outstanding results every time.

This book highlights the differences between being great and being good, and shows you how to blur the lines between getting things done and making things happen.

 

9. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

Start With Why by Simon Sinek answers questions like “Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others?” “Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike?”

His books reviews the leadership styles of the greatest leaders in the world. The likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers. These men all started with why, they all thought, acted and communicated the same way. It’s how they were able to have so much pull over others.

Start With Why is a step towards replicating the leadership styles of the world’s most influential leaders, to become influential yourself.

 

10. The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World

As a leader, there are things you will face that can shake you to your core. But you have to  weather these obstacles,  even when it feels like your vision is a fantasy and people are conspiring against you.

In the face of all these, you must remain positive. This positivity is important because it’s how you gain the confidence and courage to establish rules and lead your team.

Yet, positivity is hard to develop after you have taken so many hits. So, Jon Gordon will teach you how.

 

11. On Becoming A Leader

Leaders aren’t born, they are made by years and years of trial and error and moments where they wondered if they would ever succeed.

Leadership isn’t something you are born into, it is something you become.

If you think otherwise, Warren Bennis begs to differ with his book On Becoming A Leader.

 

12: Wooden On Leadership

Wouldn’t this whole leadership thing be easier if someone who has actually lead before gave you advice?

Well, leadership coach John Wooden shares all his methods and the step by step process he used to gain “maximum effort and peak performance from each of his players in the manner that best served the team”.

Wooden On Leadership is the secrets of 41 years of coaching and leadership experience, exposed in a book.

 

13. Primal Leadership

A leader’s emotions is highly contagious and it in turn affects the mood of all their followers. Simply put,  for your organisation to thrive, your mood as a leader should resonate warmth and happiness so that it spreads to all your workers.

In Primal Leadership, the importance of emotional intelligence (a vital skill which is sadly lacked by most leaders) is stressed, so is it’s effect on you as a leader and your organization.

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee in this book, show that the best leaders excel by leveraging emotional intelligence terms like empathy and self-awareness, and by grooming it to get outstanding performance.

 

14. First, Break All The Rules: What The World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

Usually, leaders are the ones who should follow the rules. After all they are the ones who made them.

But what if to become a good leader, a great one even, you need to break few ground rules of leadership?

Marcus Buckingham provides you with answers to this question in his book. He even takes a step forward by telling you what rules a good leader should break.

 

15. Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done

Honeywell International, Inc. CEO, Larry Bossidy and legendary advisor to senior executives, Ram Charan teamed up to produce this guide on getting things done for CEOs.

This book will help you put in place a task execution culture that works, whether you are running a whole company or doing your first management job.

Straight from the mind of two experts in the best position to give you leadership advice, Execution aims to bridge the gap between promised results and delivered results. Read the book to find out more about Larry’s 3 core processes.

 

16. Leading Change

Millions of other organizations around the world, have embraced John Kotter's Leading Change, and you should too.

His book has taught many that “widespread and difficult change is no longer the exception. It’s the rule”.

For leaders who want to make some changes around their company, John's 8 step process outlines the procedure every organization must go through to achieve this goal. This 8 step process and the identification of where even top managers go wrong while making changes, make this book a practical resource for leaders and managers who need their change initiatives to work.

 

17. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide To Getting Things Done

How effective are your methods as a leader?

Effective leaders are the ones who know how to make things happen, and to get the right things done. They explore every option, think of every outcome and go out of their way to do what has been neglected by others.

An effective leader is the person Peter Drucker teaches you how to become in his book The Effective Executive. Read to become and to discover the 5 practices essential to business effectiveness.

 

18. The One Minute Manager

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, tells a story of three techniques used by an effective manager.

These techniques are one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands. All of these take a minute to do, but having lasting benefits.

Although it may appear like a simple thing to do,  one-minute management does help you boost profits, productivity, and purpose.

 

19. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

True North  leads you towards the purpose of your leadership. According to this book, if  you follow your internal compass, you can become an authentic leader.

The book is based on in depth research and first-person interviews of 125 top leaders. Bill George and his co-author Peter Sims share the wisdom gathered from these experts which you can use to develop yourself as a leader.

True North also teaches you how to create your own Personal Leadership Development plan.

 

20. Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us

Seth Godin's Tribes is a blueprint for leaders who want to mobilize an audience (think customers, employees, investors) around an idea, or get them to take a particular action.

In this book, Godin walks you through a gradual process on how to lead your Tribe and get them to follow you. He  divulges the three steps to building a tribe.

Tribes is a necessary read for leaders who wish to turn scattered followers into a loyal tribe.

It is perfect for you, if you've just taken a leadership position at a company and need to win the loyalty of your new team, investors or customers. It’s also generally good for any type of leader.

 

Last Page:

Leaders do a lot and can’t always be expected to give a hundred percent.

If you lead,  there’s nothing wrong with taking help from others, even when it’s by reading books on Leadership. Such books will help you become a better leader.

(Please note: This page contains some affiliate links which means we may make some small commission if you purchase any book after clicking on this link)

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