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10 Best Management Books That Will Make You a Great Leader

Want to become a great leader?

Nguyen Thanh Nhan
May 12, 2020 · 8 min read

They say leaders are born and not made. I say leaders are born but they are made to be great. They become great through the years of experiences and their continuous drive to lead people and through their goal of making a better society.

Many books have been written to show how great leaders approach life and leadership in general. These books aim to guide future leaders like you to achieve great success and influence other people as well. Read on and discover some how-to-guides on becoming a great leader.

1. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson M.D.

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According to Kenneth Blanchard Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson M.D. of The One Minute Manager –

“Effective managers manage themselves and the people they work with so that both the organization and the people profit from their presence.”

This leadership book is about leaders setting up clear expectations for the organization to flourish and its people. The approach of the book is like how followers like some of us are looking for a great leader to follow. The character has been in many organizations and seen different styles of management — from authoritarian that only values result resulting to the demise of its workers to democracy who values people but leaving the organization doomed.

Then he found a leader who practices the one-minute method. He sets his goals and expectations clear as for the people to understand what to achieve and how to achieve it. There is also an approach of one-minute reprimand and one-minute praise. Everything is done fast and clear.

2. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

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A Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author, Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote about American president Abraham Lincoln and how he united the people and put an end to slavery in the middle of war in his time. In the book, she used Lincoln’s words –

“With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.”

Here, she showed how the president surrounded himself with the best people — not necessarily the people he liked. He united people of different ideologies and rally them into one common goal. To be humble and fearless of change are traits a great leader should have.

3. My Years With General Motors by Alfred Sloan Jr.

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First printed in 1963, My Years With General Motors is a classic every leader should read. This book is about Sloan’s approach to discipline of management and how he used this practice to be an effective leader.

Even Bill Gates read this book and he is all about praise to it. Business Week claimed it to be –

“The number one choice for its bookshelf of indispensable reading.”

It is also used as managers manual for many multi-national companies.

4. On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

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A war veteran and business professor at the University of Southern California, Warren Bennis wrote this book demonstrates the characters of a great leader. For him, a great leader is not afraid to take risks and able to see the big picture while still being self-aware.

He mentioned –

“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

5. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet

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L. David Marquet proved that if you recognize the potential of people and communicate it to them, they will see it themselves and will take responsibility for the task given to them.

He recognized this when he was serving as a submarine captain, leading people in a military way. When they encountered a challenging situation, he gave an order and his crew followed despite its impossibility, almost causing a disaster. Wondering why they did it anyway, their response was because he told them to.

In the book, he wrote –

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.”

He employed a different management approach that resulted in great outcomes.

6. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

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“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

Organizations fail while others sail very smoothly. Why? You can find it at Simon Sinek’s leadership book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. This book is about leaders, who just like in war, are willing to sacrifice their comfort for the people they lead. Sinek came up with the idea after observing a platoon of marine eating first while their Corps General eats lasts.

So why some teams succeed, and some don’t? Successful teams have a leader who recognizes the need of his team and puts their welfare first before his own, like business and military.

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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To complete your list to be a great leader, you need to have “soft skills”. These skills are also called people’s skills — the drive to make people feel recognized and appreciated. To know how this works in leading a team, you need to read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. You can find this classic in every leader’s bookshelf.

Carnegie wrote –

“Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.”

For him, leaders who possess soft skills are the ones who succeed as a negotiator. They motivate people because they feel how other people feel and they understand their thoughts. This book is about how to use people’s skills and win the heart of the team.

8. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

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Probably one of the most widely read and famous business and leadership book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey teaches about how leadership is born. It starts within oneself. To be a good leader, you should be self-aware and understand how to control yourself. Understanding yourself, your strength and weaknesses will enable you to set your personal vision and influence other people around you.

As Stephen wrote –

“Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently,”

manifesting self-awareness and control.

9. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell

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One of the most popular books on leadership of all time, John C. Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership does not only apply to business management. We have seen his approach and leadership laws applied to government, economy, military leadership, and the society in general. In this book, he wrote –

“People don’t care what you know until they know what you care”

showing the 21 fundamental laws that you can apply in leading your team and how to treat people around you.

10. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

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Great things come in small packages. This 292-page book narrowed down leadership styles into two — the Multipliers and the Diminishers. Multipliers, as Wiseman called, are leaders who are driven to maximize fewer resources and translate them into innovation for the profit of the whole organization. On the other hand. Diminishers are the people who exhaust the innovation and creative thoughts within the team.

Packed with great key points, this book is about leading by example and channeling positivity to influencing people around the organization. In this book, Liz Wiseman wrote –

“When leaders teach, they invest in their people’s ability to solve and avoid problems in the future”

emphasizing the importance of how Multipliers invest in people and make them grow to contribute significantly to the organization.

There are thousands of leadership books out there but only a few really connect to the leaders. Ten of those books listed above comprise of tried and tested leadership and management approach that you can apply to yourself as a leader and as a productive member of the society.

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Nguyen Thanh Nhan

Written by

Articles about finance, productivity, leadership. I’m keenly interested in personal development. Co-founder https://lnks.cc/

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

Nguyen Thanh Nhan

Written by

Articles about finance, productivity, leadership. I’m keenly interested in personal development. Co-founder https://lnks.cc/

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

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