Last week (September 6th) was National Read a Book Day and here at iOpener, we have read a lot of leadership books over the years. It’s a topic we have spent over 12 years researching through the Science of Happiness at Work™, and what we live and breathe every day as an organization.
So, if you are feeling inspired to pick up a book, here are the top 5 leadership books of all time (according to our leadership team!) that we recommend you dip into:
1. The Leadership Challenge: how to make extraordinary things happen in organisations by J.M Kouzes and B.Z. Posner
Now in its sixth edition, this book is a manual for effective, authentic, values-based leadership. The kind of leadership that will attract people, win them over, and create a strong sense of team and community. The model is simple to understand and apply, positioning leadership both as a skill to be learned and as a relationship that must be nurtured. It relies on a real transformation of the leader into the “best version” of themselves. The book highlights the difference between good and great leaders and shows you how to make things happen in the modern workplace.
2. Why Should Anyone Be Led By You? by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones
The key message in this book is “to be yourself more, with skill”. Rob & Gareth believe that leaders don’t become great by aspiring to a list of universal character traits. Rather, they are skillful at consistently being themselves, even in changing contexts. Their practical guide shows you exactly how to do it. The accompanying book ‘Why Should Anyone Work Here? What It Takes To Create An Authentic Organization’ is a great follow-up to translate individual leadership behavior into company ethos.
3. “Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do” by Daniel M. Cable
The premise of this new book from social psychologist and professor Cable is that we all have a ‘best self’. If we are given the freedom to use our best selves in the workplace then we will ultimately perform better. He argues that humans aren’t built for routine and repetition but designed to crave exploration and learning. His research-led guide helps you to unlock the potential of those around you and generate a more effective team.
4. ‘People With Purpose’ by Kevin Murray
This book analyses how great leaders make purpose the beating heart of their organizations. It demonstrates how, alongside values and stretching goals, purpose delivers engagement, loyalty and higher performance. It’s packed with statistics and facts from very recent research, including some research from the UK.
5. The Mindful Workplace: developing resilient individuals and resilient organisations by M. Chaskalson
This practical and theoretical book explores the current gold-standard research on how mindfulness can transform business cultures by reducing stress, increasing resilience, and enhancing human happiness. All of which leaves organizations and leaders in a better position to meet the demands of our VUCA world. It also details an eight–week mindfulness training course which is specifically designed for the workplace and techniques to listen more attentively and communicate more clearly.
Have any favorite leadership books you would like to share? Please let us know. We are always on the look-out for new perspectives that can enhance our work to co-create brilliant leaders in organizations around the world.