The world is looking uncertain and unfamiliar, and you are probably seeking clarity, comfort and courage to face what lies ahead.
Tough times call for Amplified Leadership
Your leadership skills, like that of many others, is under stress, you have people to lead, inspire, motivate, you have deadlines and targets to meet
Your need to communicate effectively is high, you have hard decisions to make, bosses to answer and maybe you are feeling just a bit out of control
As a species, we have endured many a crisis and have come out stronger. We have also gotten better by learning from the past, applying it in the present and hopefully influencing our future.
Hence I urge you to reach out, seek new knowledge, learn from different sources, get insights from people who have led across various facets of life and are generous enough to share their wisdom.
The Paradox of Leadership
Leadership is one of the must-have skills if you want to succeed in life, but it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. You need to show leadership skills to get into a leadership position, but without that kind of responsibility, how do you learn leadership skills?
Even when you have been leading for a while, it’s not easy to wrap your head around what next steps to take to become a better leader. I know this is something the executives I coach often grapple with and wish to address.
Over the past few months, I am receiving numerous queries asking me to suggest reading material that could be of help in improving Leadership.
So here are five books you will find useful and helpful to navigate the current challenging times.
1. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations by Posner and Kouzes
First published over 30 years ago, Posner and Kouzes have spent the past three decades studying the best practices of the worlds top leaders. This latest edition is more relevant than ever. It details five practices all great leaders engage in, as well as offering 10 Commandments of Senior Leadership. If you are yet to read this book or are a new leader, this is a great place to start your leadership learning. I revisit this book at regular intervals and continue to find new insights.
2. The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by none other than Martin Luther King, Jr, Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist Monk and a Zen Master. He has, through his insightful writings on mindfulness, conscious living and compassion inspired millions around the world. The Art of Power is an important book to read if you are in a position of power. This book is a must-read if you find yourself consumed in your work and your search for success comes at the sacrifice of other areas of your life.
3. Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle
If anyone knew about Leadership in business, that man was Bill Campbell. Part of the success of Apple, Google and Intuit, and a colleague of such luminaries as Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Campbell is undoubtedly a man worth following in this biography. In this book, three Google executives share the major takeaways those around him learned, so it’s a great way to look in on what one of the most famous executive coaches shared.
4. Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance by Kim Cameron
Positive Leadership offers practical steps to positive Leadership, based on emphasizing strengths, being kind and building people’s self-esteem and self-confidence. It focuses on four essential approaches to Leadership: positive climate, positive relationships, positive communication, and positive meaning. The book provides plenty of examples and case studies for how positive Leadership can be applied in your work and is a great place to start your leadership learnings.
5. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Written by two U.S. Navy SEALs who served in Iraq, this book will guide you through how to lead in genuinely extreme situations. And while usually, this may not seem like something we need to be well versed in for corporate life, the challenges of 2020 are teaching us differently. Their approach, forged on the battlefields of the Middle East, has changed the way people think about Leadership and renewed efforts into team building. If you want to learn to lead your team or company in all circumstances by overcoming extreme challenges, read this highly entertaining and value-packed book.
Leadership is a vital skill for anyone who wants to excel in life and help others do the same. Reading these leadership books and applying the learnings will help you take great strides forward and they are worth revisiting year after year. If you would like one-on-one support in developing your leadership skills, you can find out more about my executive coaching services here.
Points to Ponder
- What Leadership skills are you using to lead your teams currently?
- What’s missing and how do you intend to develop the same?
Let me know your thoughts on these books and others that you have found useful.
You may also want to read this article I wrote for HBR Ascend on six books for fast-tracking your career https://hbrascend.org/topics/read-these-6-books-to-fast-track-your-career/.
Until next time, learn, lead and be well.
P.s. I am aware these are challenging times and hence recommend this article on stress management https://www.sridharlaxman.com/what-you-should-know-about-stress-management/.