When you search for “summer reading lists,” Google will give you over 1.2 billion results. Who has time to scroll through all that to find the best leadership books out there? Make it a little easier by checking out our executive team’s recommendations for smart books with real-life applications in the workplace that you might find valuable.
It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For by Roy M. Spence, Jr.
This book demonstrates why leaders must focus on connecting team members to the mission and vision of the organization. Every extraordinary organization thinks about purpose and value.
Submitted by Tom Mahoney – Chairman & CEO
The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
Women’s rights are at risk now more than ever. And income inequality means children’s rights/lives are at major risk. We all need awareness of the nature of unconscious bias in our society and Gates eloquently addresses the issues that need our attention. As a business leader, it’s critical that we take courage to reshape the workplace to ensure women are valued and recognized. Gates introduces us to notable women who show us the power of connecting and belonging.
Submitted by Rob Danna – Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing
The Fearless Organization – Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth by Amy C. Edmondson
I picked up this book because I liked the author’s premise of leveraging talent and creating safety when sharing ideas and speaking up. This book is grounded in 20 years of research and is set to help organizations with a framework to establish psychological safety within a team and organization filled with great applicable real-life examples.
Submitted by Carrie Valster – Vice President of Client Services
Reality-Based Leadership by Cy Wakeman
This book is a great reminder on how to cut the drama in the workplace and to focus on what you know as facts instead of telling yourself a story. I loved the tips on how to make your team more effective and deliver better results by fostering connectedness.
Submitted by Sarah Haines – Vice President of Event Management
Grit by Angela Duckworth
Given to me by a dear family member who recently passed, this book has become an incredibly personal and positive point of reference. Its anecdotes inspire me and its insights have nudged me to more consciously stay the course and enjoy the ride in every aspect of life.
Submitted by Tim Heaston – Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Wolfpack by Abby Wambach
Abby’s book is a quick read, providing insight from her career as a two-time Olympic gold medalist. She says, “It’s important to remember being a leader is not a title or a privilege, it’s a right and responsibility of all.” Much of the positioning of the book is focused on elevating women (and all marginalized people) and amplifying their voices. We need to celebrate each other’s successes. Claim your power and clear the way for others to do the same.
Submitted by Maura McCarthy – Vice President of Communication Solutions Group
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek writes about the factors he believes create a successful team. “The ability of a group of people to do remarkable things hinges on how well those people pull together as a team.” Of utmost importance is what Sinek describes as a “Circle of Safety.” This circle of safety means creating an environment of trust and commitment through empathy and collaboration. When people work in this environment, they feel like they belong and have the courage to do the right thing. “Our intelligence gives us ideas and instructions. But it is the ability to cooperate that actually helps us get those things done. Nothing of real value on this earth was built by one person without the help of others.” Sinek believes that if organizations instill trust and collaboration within their own walls, the profits will follow. “It’s not how smart the people in the organization are; it’s how well they work together that is the true indicator of future success or the ability to manage through struggle.”
Submitted by CJ Jacobson – Vice President of People and Culture
These books (along with Google’s billion recommendations) provide ideas, insights and lessons learned that you can apply to yourself. If you get through this reading list and want more advice on leadership and motivation, be sure to check out our Ultimate Employee Motivation Checklist for Leaders.