For the very first time, this year’s list is thick with revised and updated bestsellers.
In two cases they’re from the recent past, and in another the gold standard in leadership reading from the last century.
Outstanding non-fiction that stands the test of time is great but a bit challenging when the examples are dated.
In these recommendations, the research, writing and the stories have been refreshed with great success. This is not to say that 2017 first editions aren’t worthy. There are a number of those as well.
In the Oops we missed a good read from a few years ago category, a book that has its foundation in the language of love (ok, this is another first for my book column) is among my favorites. The work has been adjusted for the workplace and stands as a great reference for leaders and managers looking to motivate through appreciation and recognition.
Add to the list some deep Canadian content on creative problem solving, lots of female authors as well as a workbook companion to an international bestseller written by the most successful millennial author in the non-fiction world. Throw in a fun and compelling book on interpersonal communication by everybody’s favorite TV doctor from the seventies and we’ve almost got it. Then add a fable from the world’s foremost authority on teamwork and close with great insight on being a “kick-ass boss” and you have a compelling list for gift giving or your own 2018 reading and professional development!
Here's THE list:
The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organisations, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner.
Few leadership books will stand the test of time like this 1987 release. It continues to educate and inspire and the 2017, 6th edition offers current challenges leaders face as well as contemporary stories and examples. In addition, it’s a colourful magazine stock edition that every leader or aspiring leader needs on their bookshelf. This is evidence based, research rich leadership development at its absolute finest.
Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions, by Knowing What to Ask by Michael J. Marquardt.
The interviews with 30 leaders are compelling and eight of them are new to this revised and updated edition. If you believe as I do that great leaders, ask great questions (making them much better listeners) this Jossey Bass volume gets very practical on not only what to ask but how. Chapters on questions to manage people, build teams and enable change are excellent. If you’re not convinced about the power of questions, this book will change your mind.
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everybody Smarter, by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeon.
Given my HR background, I have a soft spot for HR wizards who become best selling authors. In this 2017 revised and updated version of this 2010 work, Wiseman translates her insight earned as the Global HR Development executive at Oracle into viewing leaders as either Multipliers or Diminishers. (Spoiler alert: you want to work for and become a Multiplier.) Wiseman shows you how to adopt 5 Disciplines and then breaks down the five into individual practices. If you help others develop their leadership and managerial chops, read this book!
Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, by Kim Scott.
Great instruction (and wonderful stories) from the former executive at Apple and Google. Her advice is simple: care for the person while challenging them directly all in the service of creating a culture of feedback (she calls it guidance), building cohesive teams and achieving results. This New York Times bestseller is one of the most helpful and useable leadership development books of 2017.
Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, by Simon Sinek, David Mead and Peter Docker.
Sinek’s blockbuster Start With Why is followed up with this helpful 2017 workbook that individuals and facilitators alike will find useful.
The Ideal Team Player, by Patrick Lencioni.
The leading authority on workplace teams builds on the global success of his Five Dysfunctions of a Team in this 2016 fable of a nephew trying to save a doomed company by building a culture of teamwork grounded in the three virtues of humility, hunger and people smarts. It outlines a great team framework and very practical tools. This is ideal workplace book club reading material. Check out lots of free resources and tools on Lencioni’s website www.tablegroup.com
Creating Great Choices: A Leaders Guide to Integrative Thinking, by Jennifer Riel and Roger L. Martin.
Canada’s preeminent strategic thinkers help the rest of us with a 4-step approach to creative problem solving that uses opposing ideas that work in virtually any situation. Lots of practical tips for leaders facing hard choices. Masterfully researched and written 2017 tome.
Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People, by Gary Chapman and Paul White.
Adapting the language of love for the job site. It includes useful online resources to help you help your boss and colleagues appreciate you more. Helps explain why some of our recognition and appreciation efforts miss the mark and how fix it.
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating, by Alan Alda.
He’s still Dr Hawkeye Pierce to many of us who grew up on M.A.S.H. on TV (not to mention hundreds of other roles since) but Alda has been working diligently for years helping the rest of us better understand science. He shares his interpersonal communication insights (based in science and improvisation) in this witty and informative 2017 book.
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