Each season I like to dip into some great books to revitalize my ideas and share them. The themes in this list relate to how you can be a better communicator, a better thinker and a better leader. I hope you find some nuggets in here to refresh your own thinking and gain some new skills.
Talking on Eggshells: Soft Skills for Hard Conversations by Sam Horn
How to hold a conversation is an unsung skill in business, but the truth is that your ability to smoothly navigate social situations of all kinds are directly related to moving up in your career. The most sophisticated professionals develop their skills past the point of simply learning how to work a large room or start a conversation. Your professional life is filled with awkward moments, uncomfortable scenarios, and sometimes things which are just plain bizarre. In Talking on Eggshells, Best-selling author Sam Horn provides a nuanced, practical guide to help you handle whatever you encounter. She presents techniques you can use to neutralize tough situations, like when someone is blaming you, ghosting you or lying to you. Other frameworks cover how you can speak up in the moment, even when you typically need time to think.
Talking on Eggshells is your guide to thinking on your feet, giving and getting respect, and, ultimately, being the type of person you want to be – even when other people aren’t.
Grace Under Pressure: Leading Through Change and Crisis by John Baldoni
Managing yourself is one of the most important ways you can keep your cool when the heat is on. In Grace Under Pressure, John Baldoni articulates what happens when you feel threatened as a leader, and then a set of tools to help you calm down. He teaches how you can handle your own needs to stay composed so you can lead sustainably. This allows you to deal with other people in a compassionate and enlightened way so that people see you as an elevated leader. The accumulation of these skills and perspectives allow you to see the future more clearly and make difficult choices to safeguard the future of your people and your organization. If leading with grace and compassion is an aspiration of yours, this book will help you achieve that goal.
The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth by Tiffani Bova
With her two decades of experience as a researcher at Gartner, followed by her current role as Chief Growth Evangelist at Salesforce, Tiffani Bova has deep expertise in employee engagement. In The Experience Mindset, she showcases how you as a leader can adopt an experience mindset: a perspective that strengthens employee engagement along with creating more customer loyalty. Using clear metrics, this book also showcases case studies that provide a practical roadmap for how you can bring an experience mindset into your own company. This will help you lead better outcomes along with coaching employees to do the best work of their lives.
Be Human, Lead Human: How to Connect People and Performance by Dr. Jennifer Nash
Much has been written about the trust gap between employees and their company leaders, driving disengagement, cynicism, and burnout. Based on her work as an executive coach and advisor, Dr. Jennifer Nash has spent over two decades working with leaders to help them identify their best archetype as a leader and create specific strategies to enact it. In Be Human, Lead Human she presents multiple frameworks for human skills like inspiring and appreciating, shares practical strategies to implement them, and then shows you how these human skills lead to outstanding results. You can also take Nash’s Human Leader Index to see how much (or little) you’re leading in a way that fully engages your employees.
The Seismic Shift in Leadership: How to Thrive in a New Era of Connection by Dr. Michelle Johnston
This book is a treasure trove of personal stories that Dr. Michelle Johnston, the Clifton A. Morvant Distinguished Professor in Business in the College of Business at Loyola University New Orleans, has compiled with her decades of experience coaching and advising a wide set of executives of companies big and small. The concepts she teases out from these anecdotes relate to the tactical – like owning the rhythm of your own day – and doing your own calendar – to the more philosophical like identifying your own leadership style. The throughline with all of these stories is the moment of truth, and you will definitely gain insight and motivation to take action to improve your own leadership through them.
VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life by Todd Cherches
It’s well established that business is speeding up. The pace of change has never been more frantic and the amount of information to absorb never more overwhelming. This requires a new way to process information and to communicate it. VisuaLeadership provides a fresh way to frame how to think and communicate by showcasing specific tools, images, metaphors and mental models. This book will help you learn an entirely new universal language. Envisioning new models helps you think in new ways, all of which will help you become a better leader and thinker, and more able to reconceive and articulate a compelling vision and lead people to get there.
The best leaders constantly push themselves to learn more. Reading great books helps you enjoy the process.
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