22 Books to Help You Lead

Leadership and communications are tied together in many ways. Those who communicate well have a leadership advantage. Those who don’t have trouble gaining followers.

Our job as communications professionals is to help leaders at all levels communicate well. We help leaders–and those who want to lead—convey a clear message. We help them establish their credibility. We help them show respect. We help them become trustworthy. Along the way, we increase engagement and promote an environment where creativity and innovation can flourish, and that can lead to greater success.

Here’s a list of leadership books, in no particular order, that can help you lead or guide others on how to lead. Good communication is a common theme found in them, for obvious reasons. I encourage you to explore these and use their wisdom to find ways to improve your leadership and internal communications skills.

  1. 5 Levels of Leadership, John Maxwell
  2. The Great Workplace: How to Build It, How It Works and Why It Matters, Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin
  3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek
  4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown
  5. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
  6. Living the Seven Habits, Stephen Covey
  7. Good to Great, Jim Collins
  8. Good Profit, Charles G. Koch
  9. Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
  10. The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, Reid Hoffman (co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn)
  11. The Culture Blueprint: A Guide to building the High-Performance Workplace, Robert Richman
  12. The Trustworthy Leader, Leveraging the Power of Trust to Transform Your Organization, Amy Lyman
  13. The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, Kristi Hedges
  14. Switch, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  15. Team of Teams, General Stanley McChrystal
  16. Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott
  17. Make Success Measurable!: A Mindbook-Workbook for Setting Goals and Taking Action, Douglas Smith
  18. The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization, Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith
  19. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, Patrick Lencioni
  20. Leading When You’re Not the Boss: How to Get Things Done in Complex Corporate Cultures, Roger Strathausen
  21. How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority, Clay Scroggins
  22. For Your Improvement: A Guide for Development and Coaching, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger

These books can help anyone grow and develop leadership skills that they can start using today to improve communication and collaboration. Managers who want to move up will gain new insights that will show them the way to a higher role, where they will face new communication challenges—those, too, are addressed in these pages.

Let’s Improve
What’s on your bookshelf? What books would you add to the list? Do you have a favorite leadership book or author? Please offer a comment to help us all learn and improve.

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