LEADERS READ VORACIOUSLY 2023-11-05T23:47:44-05:00


One of my most meaningful tools during the past several decades for improving my leadership skills and knowledge has been reading. I have read fiction and non-fiction books. I have read newsletters and blogs. I have read newspapers and magazines. In many instances, I have used a yellow highlighter to emphasize points I wished to remember (not in library books!).

On other occasions, I have shared my take-aways with friends, colleagues, or my wife and sons. Sometimes we even had a leadership book club at the office for books that would appeal to a number of teammates.

I know many leaders who do not make time to read or give themselves permission to set aside time for reading, either at the office or at home in the early morning or evening hours. Why?

They do not believe it is appropriate to read during the work day because reading, even about leadership, is not considered to be “real work.” Some leaders will only read at their desks while they are eating lunch (Lunch at our desks is not a good habit to develop!). They feel guilty if their colleagues see them reading a book during regular work hours.

Other leaders do not make time for reading at home because they may have childcare responsibilities in the morning or have a long commute (Books on tape work too!). In the evenings they are fatigued from the work day, have more child care duties or just want to veg out in front of the television before commencing the daily routine again the next day.

I was reminded of the value of reading this week because a leadership coaching colleague asked for recommendations of leadership books for a relatively new leader who is a coaching client of hers. However, she did not ask just me; she put the request out there on the listserv for leadership coaching graduates of the Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership.

This listserv includes leadership coaches from across the United States and around the world. What a knowledgeable group from whom to solicit leadership book recommendations.

So, in the interest of expanding your own awareness of leadership books you may enjoy, I thought I would share here the list of books that were recommended by my colleagues with years of leadership coaching experience.

Let me know if you have already found any of these books particularly helpful for your own leadership journey or drop me a note after you make your way through one of them.

-Leadership Challenges by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

-15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by James Dethmer and Diana Chapman

-Language and The Pursuit of Happiness by Chalmers Brothers

-Navigating Polarities by Brian Emerson and Kelly Lewis

-Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps by Jennifer Garvey Berger

-The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

-On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

-What Leaders Really Do by John Kotter
-What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

-The 108 Skills of Natural-Born Leaders by Warren Blank

-The Work of Leaders by Julie Straw, Mark Scullard, Susie Kukkonen and Barry Davis

-Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud

-Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

-Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

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