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5 Top Leadership Books

So many books are available on leadership, sharing advice and wisdom. Here are five that I have read more than once and keep returning to, because they offer so many usable ideas. Each of them are very different in their styles - but together they will lead you on a successful path for your leadership journey. Here are my 5 favourite leadership books.

1. How To Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age- By Dale Carnegie & Associates, with Brent Cole

Originally published in 1936, it has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the bestselling books of all time. This version is adapted from the timeless bestseller. It is this modern version that I find most relevant for 2021. It is by far the best book I have ever read on building positive relationships in the workplace. I have used many of the strategies suggested in the book and you are guaranteed to have success with people if you use them too.

The title should not deter you. I didn't pick the book up to win friends, however as a leader, I did want to influence people.

The book is divided into four parts: Part 1: Essentials of Engagement, Part 2: Six Ways to Make a Lasting Impression, Part 3: How to Merit and Maintain Other's Trust and Part Four; How to Lead Change without Resistance or Resentment.

It is loaded with ideas, strategies and immediate ways to positively transform how you interact with the people you lead.

2. Dare To Lead - By Brene Brown

A favorite list wouldn't be complete without a Brene Brown book on it. With her authentic voice and depth of research, any book she writes is guaranteed to have an impact on you, for the better.

She is a talented story teller and instantly captivates you with her honesty and down to earth anecdotes. I read this book as part of a professional learning group I belong to. It certainly wasn't a hardship to read.

For me, the biggest takeaway from this book is the importance of leading with courage and whole heartedness. Often we 'armor' up at work in the hope that this will make us more productive and efficient. Brene goes on to write that when we imprison the heart, we kill courage.

3. Grit - Angela Duckworth

This book is backed with loads of research on the ingredients required for outstanding achievement. Duckworth's TED Talk is well worth a listen too. In this book she reveals why some people succeed and others fail. She certainly doesn't sugar coat success, which I really liked. She tells many stories in the book that describe how people succeeded through tough times and with passion and perseverance continued on their pathway to success. I enjoyed reading the chapter about Purpose, since it dispels the myths about the importance of knowing our purpose, and staying true to it, from an early age. As a process, it can be developed over time and changed as well.

4. Eat That Frog - Brian Tracy

Hands down, the best book on time management I have ever read. 3 million other people thought so too! This little book is a quick read, loaded with gems to shift your perspective on how you can manage time at work effectively, not let it manage you. The tips and strategies in this book have influenced the way I work significantly. They have enabled me to invest in the important aspect of leadership -the people.

5. Daily Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey

This little book is a collection of daily reads, from his best selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, published in 1989. In these daily reads, the best parts of the original book have been compiled into nuggets of wisdom. Each morning, it takes just two minutes to digest. He carves out the pathway for you to lead with fairness, integrity, honestly, and human dignity.

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