Full of conflict and complexity, the life of a business leader is a busy one and it can be hard for these folks to find time for a good book.
However, the best leaders are voracious readers. If you aspire to success as a leader, you need to invest time in good books on leadership. Some of the best books on leadership are autobiographies on great American leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
There are also many great books written about leadership. Below are three such books that you should consider reading.
Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization by Ron Williams with Karl Weber
Born and raised in Chicago during the mid-20th century, Ron Williams rose through corporate leadership ranks to become a top health care executive, serving as the chief executive of health insurance giant Aetna. In this book, Williams makes it clear from the beginning that he’s writing for people who are just starting their careers and finding it difficult to get on a leadership track. At times, the advice is broad and philosophical, such as saying not to let others define who you are as a professional. There are also points where he offers specific career advice, such as looking for work in sectors that are expanding. In making this point, Williams points to his own success in healthcare, an industry that has essentially doubled as a part of the economy during his career in it.
Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust by Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein
Written by the father-and-son team of Edgar and Peter Schein, the former an expert on company culture, Humble Leadership looks at the most important aspect of company culture: leadership.
Based on this concept, the authors suggest reframing the personal quest to be a great leader into a challenge to help groups of people perform better. Calling this approach “Level 2” leadership, the Scheins criticize the conventional approach to leadership success, which they say is foolishly dependent on heroic individual performance.
The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
While this book could be seen as a critical indictment of the Trump presidency, it has distinctive value when regarded from a leadership point of view. Despite the critical framing of the book, it’s a rather hopeful composition on how dedicated, tenured and middle-level workers in the federal government can find a way to maintain quality and productivity in the face of absentee leadership. Lewis also argues how much employees and the organization benefit with competent support from leadership. Given the recency of the subject matter, and despite its political nature, The Fifth Risk is a compelling read for any company leader, regardless of political persuasion.
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