Top 5 Books for Leaders
Great leaders don’t get there by accident. High achievers can’t achieve without effort. Successful people don’t accomplish if they don’t put forth the energy and sacrifice required to move forward.
“Why would I get started?”
Anyone who wants to have more, do more, or be more, must apply the number one success principle – development of self.
“How do I get started?”
The question I am most asked at events or conferences when I am speaking about leadership and personal or professional development is “How do I get started?” or “How do I build my influence or leadership skills?”
Regardless of whether you are formally in a “leadership position” or not, you are in a position to influence people and you can develop your skills in order to be better at it. There are several ways you can intentionally develop your leadership skills. You can watch leadership development videos. You can study great leaders from around the world. You can attend conferences and take notes. Or, you can read. Reading (or listening to audio books) is one of the best ways to develop your personal and professional leadership skills because it’s easy, inexpensive, and self-paced.
“What should I read to get started?”
Naturally, after I suggest that someone should start reading to kickstart their personal and professional development, the next question is: “Which book(s) should I read?” Here are my suggested top 5 books to read, study, learn and apply in order to improve your character and ability as a person of influence. Not necessarily in order, because everyone is at a different place in their journey.
1) The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth – John C. Maxwell
This book just had some really great principles packed together in an easy to read, common sense, no nonsense, one bite-at-a-time approach that I really learned a lot from. I’ve read it a few times, and I get more out of it every time I read it. This book has great advice and information on asking questions, being intentional, being consistent, developing strategies for growth, learning from mistakes, removing limiting beliefs, and much more. A must read for someone who is interested in realizing more of their potential.
2) Coaching for Performance – John Whitmore
Coaching others is a way to help other people unlock their own potential. All effective leaders coach at some level, whether they realize it or not. Asking the right questions (at the right time) is not only a great way to coach, but it’s also a great way to increase your influence. This book includes an easy and powerful coaching model, tips on increasing your self-awareness, advice about how to improve performance with coaching, and how to uplevel your leadership skills.
3) Maximize Your Leadership Potential – Mack Story
In full disclosure, I could be biased since I married the author, but I don’t think so. Maximize Your Leadership Potential offers the reader a simple, easy to understand explanation of foundational leadership principles that you can apply immediately to improve your results. It’s a “leadership 101” for leaders at all levels.
4) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
I bet this book is on the list of “Most Impactful Books of All-time.” If it’s not, it should be. This book shares foundational PERSONAL success principles that will help you be more effective in all areas of your life. I think it should be required reading for everyone. You can also get a condensed 6 hour audio version that is very “bite-sized.”
5) The 5 Levels of Leadership – John C. Maxwell
Maxwell’s Leadership Levels offer a simple, easy to understand, illustration of how influence with others works and how to increase it. It also references the benefits, and downsides, to increasing your leadership ability. Yes, there are downsides, or costs, to becoming a high-level leader. If you want to know what they are – read the book.
About the author: Like many, Ria faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Ria went on to thrive. She worked her way through school, an MBA, and a successful career in the corporate world of administrative healthcare.
Now a full time leadership motivational speaker and author of 7 books, Ria co-founded Top Story Leadership, a consulting company offering keynote speaking, leadership training, and coaching.