Top 10 Books on Leadership to Read to Become a Better Leader

Leadership is one of the most coveted skills for any individual, helping in all kinds of scenarios, whether work-related or not. If you want to efficiently take your team and organization to new heights, developing leadership skills is a good way to go. There is always something to learn for new leaders or seasoned veterans. Reading books on leadership is a great way to acquire knowledge on this subject matter.

Finding the right book for you in the sea of books can be difficult. In this article, we have shortlisted some of the best books on leadership by cherished writers for your learning needs. 

Best Books On Leadership Skills

In this list, we will discuss some of the best books on leadership for new and adept leaders alike. The books are as follows.

1. The First 90 Days By Michael Watkins

In this book, Harvard Business School professor Michael Watkins talks about how to get up to speed in a new managerial position in the first 90 days. We all know how important first impressions are. This book discusses how to take charge of a new office, avoid new leader pitfalls, and manage your team efficiently. 

This book is great for leaders settling in their new offices who want pro tips on avoiding common transition traps.

2. EXECUTION: The Discipline of Getting Things Done By Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan

The very successful CEO of Honeywell International Inc., Larry Bossidy, brings his expertise in collaboration with Ram Charan into this book. The book’s central theme is to bring out the best in people working for you. The book explains how the most important characteristic of a leader is not a strategy, innovation, or anything else but the ability to get things done efficiently. He talks in-depth about the three keys of execution: people, strategy, and operations. 

This book is great for young entrepreneurs starting a new venture and experienced veterans alike. This book should be on your list if you are looking for the best books on leadership.

3. Emotional Intelligence By Daniel Goleman(1995)

Daniel Goleman forces you to think about what it means to be smart. He talks about how Emotional Intelligence is more important than having a high IQ. According to his research with renowned psychiatrists, our decision-making is handled by the rational and the emotional mind. Factors like self-awareness, self-discipline, and empathy add to make a different kind of smart. The book unravels the emotional side of our mind, which helps us understand people better, thus enhancing our leadership qualities. 

This book is definitely one of the best books on emotional intelligence. This book is great for leaders looking to get an insight into the human mind.

4. The Art of Possibility By Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

This book aims to open your eyes to the endless possibilities in front of you. It covers 12 very effective practices for bringing creativity and giving you new perspectives. The book communicates its themes through stories, parables, and personal anecdotes. This book is very optimistic in nature. It elaborates on how assuming the best in people breaks a lot of personal barriers and brings out the best in them. 

This book is great for leaders who want to improve their communication skills and be more optimistic.

5. Real Leaders Negotiate By Jeswald Salacuse

This book goes in-depth with the central topic of negotiation. It discusses how to use negotiation skills in all sizes of organizations, be it public or private. A good leader is always a great negotiator. This book teaches basic negotiation skills with examples of high-profile cases. These cases provide insight into an adept negotiator’s thought process. The book examines the role of negotiation in attaining, exercising, and retaining leadership in an organization.

It is one of the best books on negotiation in the market right now and is a great read for leaders trying to work on their negotiation skills.

6. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us By Daniel H. Pink

This book aims to change the common perception about what motivates us. Pink goes on to say how the carrot and stick approach is not very effective. He asserts that to get satisfaction from work, you must satisfy the deeply ingrained human need to direct your own life and learn new things. It classifies every task into two categories. Tasks are either algorithmic or heuristic in nature. Algorithmic tasks include repetitive tasks, while heuristic tasks require innovation and do not have any set of fixed instructions. This book draws its information from four decades of Psychological research on human motivation.  It is a great book to read for leaders who want to motivate their teams better.

7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has been a fan favorite because of how timeless the content is. This book does not attend to period trends but innate habits that will surely lead you to success. Some of the seven habits include being proactive,  having a clear end goal, understanding priorities, having a positive mentality, learning to synergize, and striving to be better. These key elements or habits are the foundation of every successful leader who has proven themself proven themself time and time again. 

This book has inspired a generation of great leaders and should be on your list of books you want to read on leadership.

8. Good To Great By Jim Collins

Good To Great examines the performance of 1,435 companies over a span of 40 years and finds 11 companies that became great. This book answers where the other 1,424 companies went wrong and what truly makes a business stand the test of time. It goes into detail on what these 11 companies did that made them stand the test of time and made them great.  It provides insight into leadership that turned the tide and built a culture of discipline. It is a must-read for any leader or business owner.

9. Primal Leadership By Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee  

This book is about whether keeping emotions out of the workplace is the most effective way to be productive. It raises awareness about emotional intelligence(EQ) and how it can make people in a workplace more effective, efficient, and productive. Goleman emphasizes the fact that employees work their best when they feel good. The book talks about “primal leadership” and how the fundamental task of a leader is to prime good feelings in those they lead. It is one of the best books on emotional intelligence in the market right now.

10. Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In By Roger Fischer, William Ury, and Bruce Patton

This book is all about isolating problems. It teaches you to focus on interests, create new options and help the two parties reach a common ground. The book offers you a straightforward, universally favored approach to handling professional and personal disputes without involving anger.

According to many, “Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” is arguably the best book on negotiation in the market right now. All the authors were a part of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

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Leadership skills help in not only our professional lives but also our personal lives. Good leadership skills are sure to give you a jumpstart in your career. Books are a great source of theoretical information, but it is not a substitute for a full-fledged course with experienced faculty on this subject matter. Consider enrolling in the Master of Business Administration(MBA) at Liverpool Business School from one of the most prominent online education leaders, upGrad, to advance your career.

You can also check out our free courses offered by upGrad in Management, Data Science, Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, and Technology. All of these courses have top-notch learning resources, weekly live lectures, industry assignments, and a certificate of course completion – all free of cost!

Are leadership skills always inherent?

No, leadership is a skill just like any other. With practice and due diligence, you can become a great leader too. Books, experience, and consistent practice is the key to achieving it.

Why are leadership skills so important in the workplace?

Good leadership skills ensure your team stays on track, meets its goals regularly, and keeps the business profitable.

Does having goals help you become a better leader?

Yes, great leaders always have set goals for themselves and their teams. This helps them keep everything on track and a lot more efficiently.

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