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5 books to level up your leadership

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We all want to be leaders who deliver strong results while creating an engaging work environment for our team.

But often we just don’t know where to start.

Reading can help. Because – as author Ryan Holiday says – “Reading is the only way [we] can live multiple lives”.

So, through reading, we leverage the wisdom of great leaders who came before us. And move onwards and upwards.

Here are 5 books to help you level up your leadership »

1. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Key points

  • Strong organisations are healthy and smart
  • Organisational health depends on a cohesive leadership team, strategic clarity, overcommunication, and strategy-aligned ways of working
  • Clarity comes from answering: why do we exist? How will we succeed? What do we do? Who does what? What are our priorities? How will we behave?

The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organisational health

Patrick Lencioni

Read a summary of The Advantage.

2. Measure What Matters by John Doerr

Key points

  • Objectives and key results (OKRs) are a simple and collaborative goal setting method
  • OKRs comprise an objective (what to achieve) and key results (how to achieve the objective)
  • OKRs have helped many organisations (including Google) stretch for ambitious goals

An effective goal-setting system starts with disciplined thinking at the top, with leaders who invest the time and energy to choose what counts

John Doerr

Read a summary of Measure What Matters.

3. Traction by Gino Wickman

Key points

  • Successful organisations have a great management system
  • Great systems include a vision, data, processes, traction, issues resolution and the right people in the right seats
  • The system must flow and cascade throughout the organisation

Clarify your vision and you will make better decisions about people, processes, finances, strategies and customers

Gino Wickman

Download a free sample of our Strategic Planning Toolkit.

4. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Key points

  • The five causes of team dysfunction are low trust, fear of conflict, low commitment, low accountability and inattention to results
  • These lead to team failure if unaddressed
  • High performing teams build trust, which allows open and honest communication, which builds commitment to shared goals, which establishes accountability, which prioritises team results over individual achievements

Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team

Patrick Lencioni

Read a summary of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

5. Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Key points

  • ‘Radical candour’ is challenging each other directly with a high degree of care for one another
  • Doing so builds trust and enables people to grow
  • Often, people show care, but don’t challenge directly: this is ‘ruinous empathy’. Or we challenge directly without care, which is ‘obnoxious aggression’

The best way to keep superstars happy is to challenge them and make sure they are constantly learning

Kim Scott

Read about the importance of feedback.

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