When you look at great leaders of the world, there are two consistent traits that make them exceptional — knowledge and experience. And while you can’t teach experience, gaining knowledge is something any CEO should be after. After all, it’s a competitive world out there, so arming yourself with the tools necessary to succeed is vital.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of people who have worked tremendously hard on studying and dissecting what it takes to be a great leader. They’ve been able to translate and simplify these terms into helping you not only become a more knowledgeable leader but one that has insights into how to make your business grow tenfold.
Below I’ve listed out a few of my favorite books to help get you started on your quest for knowledge. From organizational behavior to power dynamics, they address a few traits that will turn you from good to great. Check them out below:
1. Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold
There’s a reason everyone hates meetings. Even if we’re enticed with free donuts or coffee, we generally view meetings as a huge time waster, something that can mostly be done via email or Slack. We widely regard them as inefficient and costly to our productivity. However, that’s why Cameron Herald came up with Meetings Suck- a guide to making meetings better.
As the leader of a COO Training program, Herald knows a thing or two about how to make operations run smoothly. After coaching CEO and entrepreneurs alike, he realized that the biggest complaint out of employees was that “meetings suck,” so his aim was to make them better. And as you look towards having a more productive workplace, I highly suggest you pick this one up.
2. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Robert Greene’s infamous 48 Laws of Power has been a book many leaders have recommended over the years, and rightfully so. Greene brilliantly outlines numerous power dynamics between people, making this something to pay attention to if you’re looking to sharpen your skills.
As the book relays a lot of key points on how power works, it’s a good refresher on some practical day-to-day situations you might face. However, what makes the laws so fascinating is the sheer recognition we have when we read them. And whether you’re new to leadership or have been in the game for a long time, this is well worth a look.
3. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier
Your brand isn’t just a typeface, logo, or even mission; your brand is this living, breathing creature that represents what your business does and is about. There’s a lot of factors that go into this, but the process really boils down to how one thing: how can passion be expressed?
That’s why as a leader, Marty Neumeier’s The Brand Gap is such a great read. Not only do your customers pay attention to your brand, but so do your current and potential employees as well. As a brand is supposed to tell a story without even saying a word, it’s up to you as the leader to write what that story is about, but even more, make people believe in it.
4. Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How To Manage Millennials by Bruce Tulgan
People have this constant struggle to “understand Millennials.” While I’m an advocate in saying a lot of Millennials get a bad rap, I can agree with Bruce Tulgan that, indeed, there are quite a few members of this generation who need some coaching.
Tulgan’s book goes through some different stories and methodologies on dealing with and coaching Millennials. As it’s been stated quite a few times before, Millennials can be some of the best employees in terms of skill, but sometimes gain the reputation as job hoppers. And if you’re looking to keep that young talent around long-term, I highly suggest you give this a read.
5. The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker
Words are one of the most powerful tools a leader has. However, it’s not enough to just up your vocabulary game; you actually have to utilize them as a way of garnering an end goal. That’s why Steve Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought is an excellent choice to go through the psychology of word choice and how it affects our decisions.
Whether you’re talking to your staff, customers, or board, you should always have an end goal, with your words as the greatest weapon you can arm yourself with.
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