On the Job

Be a better manager and leader with these 7 books

The business world is constantly changing, but one of the aspects of business that remains a constant is the value of reading. In the Harvard Business Review article “For Those Who Want to Lead, Read”, the authors suggest that reading helps our communication skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

If that’s true, then every person should consider building themselves a professional library. It doesn’t have to be huge, maybe just one dedicated shelf of books focusing on leadership and management development. Regardless of where you are in your career, a professional library could be valuable.

7 Books to Include in Your Professional Library

1. Modern Mentoring by Randy Emelo. Today’s leaders need to be good mentors. They also need to accept mentoring. We have the ability to leverage technology in our mentoring relationships. But it means rethinking the traditional mentoring models.

2. Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus. Want to move up in your organization? Learn how to comfortably talk about yourself. The book not only talks about how but it includes worksheets so you can practice.

3. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Planning is important but execution is the key to success. This book is a deep dive into how to make things happen.

4. It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, former commander of the USS Benfold. Don’t let the military title scare you. It’s a casual read filled with practical advice on how to turn around a struggling workplace.

5. ZAPP! The Lightning of Empowerment by William C. Byham, Ph.D. This book is an oldie, but classic. It’s written as a fictional story focused on the value of empowering employees. It’s also a very light read. Perfect for a long plane trip.

6. Managing the Mobile Workforce: Leading, Building, and Sustaining Virtual Teams by David Clemons and Michael Kroth, Ph.D. Technology has changed the way we do business and manage people. This book focuses on how managers can use technology to manage virtual or remote teams.

7. The Power of a Positive No by William Ury. Sometimes we just need to say “no”. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Ury outlines how to do it and not damage working relationships at the same time.

Being a Better Manager and Leader Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Obviously, all of these books can be purchased brand new. But if you’re on a budget, consider getting gently worn copies. There are also online services such as PaperbackSwap.com which allow members to trade books. Building a library takes time.

Not only can building a professional library help your career, but it can allow you to help others. Once your library is in place, you can share books with friends and colleagues. Or you can give copies of your favorite books to others as gifts.

Books and reading are an important part of our professional development. Creating a library is a first step toward investing in our own career.

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