4 top leadership books
The Leadership Think Tank is a LinkedIn Group. One of the discussion threads explores the leadership books that have made a difference. And while the debate continues, here are my top 6 in no particular order.
- 1. The leader on the couch – Manfred Kets de Vries
Manfred Kets de Vries delivers leadership and coaching skilling programs for INSEAD. I was lucky enough to be part of a small group that explored leadership development with him and his team in August last year.
Their leader and coach development program leads to improvements in leadership behaviour that are outstanding. Leader on the couch provides leaders with many opportunities to reflect on their own behaviour and that of the people around them. It also provides a deeper dig into how organizations work and how to challenge and change what’s happening.
- 2. Leadership on the line – Ronald A Heifetz and Marty Linsky
Leadership on the line gave me some important reminders about leadership. The chapters on getting on the balcony and thinking politically were very helpful and provided practical tactics that could be implemented fast. And the book talks about keeping your heart whole while taking on the difficult job of leadership.
- 3. Quiet leadership – David Rock
David Rock has created the Neuroleadership Institute to build thinking about the intersection between cognitive neuroscience and leadership and what this means for the practical action that leaders need to take to be successful (I don’t have an affiliation to David Rock by the way, other than having his books and being a member of the Neuroleadership Institute).
David Rock’s books provide some really practical and quickly implementable steps to coaching people and also ways improving your own leadership thinking.
- 4. Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics – Ralph Stacey
Ralph Stacey writes about organizations, their complexity and the ways that people interact with them. He gives us tools to analyse what’s really going on in organizations and what happens when things go wrong.
Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics is one of his foundational books and a number of people have adapted his work for use in organizations – see Anthony Suchmans’ website. He has also written many other books on creativity, complexity, organizations, and leadership.
How these books can improve your leadership
- They provide tools that you can use immediately – David Rock’s six step approach to helping someone make a decision is great, as is Ralph Stacey’s approach to managing organizational politics (p116 of the 2000 edition)
- Help leaders reflect – a difficult thing to do when you’re busy, and often not a preference for leaders at the best of times
- Provide frameworks to help you think through issues you are facing and what is driving your behaviour – see any of Manfred Kets de Vries’s books for this.
What leadership books have changed your work?