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4 Must-Read Books on Leadership

by South University
July 8, 2013

If you're looking for ideas on how to improve your leadership skills, you're in the right place! It is rare to be born a leader, and hardworking employees often find themselves promoted to leadership roles without past leadership experience. Thankfully, leadership skills--even those of experienced leaders--can usually be improved through study and practice.

A leader at South University

While there have been numerous books written on being an effective leader, here are a few of our favorites that might help you make the most of your leadership potential, while also giving you insight into the psychology of leadership!

The Art of War, Sun Tzu

Yes, this is an actual military guide penned in the 5th century B.C. The supposed author was a military strategist and philosopher who was so successful that he became a figure in Chinese legend. The reason behind the guide’s popularity is simple. It addresses a skill that a majority of leaders don’t naturally possess, and cannot otherwise develop until it’s needed – the ability to react effectively in a moment of crisis.

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, Bill George

As innovative as The Art of War is classic, George’s advice centers on finding the blueprint for your leadership style in your own personal history. Based on the advice of 125 successful executives, the plan George details begins with the core values developed during your younger years. In focusing on your own history, your own beliefs and tapping into your natural strengths, he encourages leaders to approach problem solving in ways they can consistently stand behind.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink’s books often bring fresh thinking to stale topics, and his take on leadership in general is no different. Instead of looking at motivation as a consequence of employees fearing their bosses or working toward rewards, he offers concrete methods based in psychology for encouraging staff to value their own hard work. He also shows how traditional management techniques often rob your workforce of this pride, and provides the psychological research that explains why his techniques work.

Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature, Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.

For those weary of anecdotes where business owner A did B and wound up with result C, look to Badaracco for a unique twist on leadership behaviors. Each of the chapters covers an ideal skill that leaders possess and then demonstrates this skill through the actions of well-known fictional literary characters. Proving you can find motivation in the strangest places, the success of this quirky business guide encourages you to think outside the box for effective solutions.

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Tags: careers business leadership

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