A good book is an investment — it provides a great way to decompress and unplug while also expanding your understanding of the world. These reads provide great insight concerning how to become a more effective and empathetic leader, whether you’re flipping through their pages on a beach, by a pool, or from the comfort of your own home.
Let It Go: My Extraordinary Story by Dame Stephanie Shirley
When Shirley created her software company, Freelance Programmers, in 1962, she had to navigate a world that was not ready for the impact technology companies would soon have — especially one run by a woman. In this memoir, Shirley details her experience as a World War II refugee during her childhood and brings the reader along her journey to starting the first wholly female software company. Her story shows how leaders in business can succeed while also changing the world for the better.
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Based on the field of positive psychology, this book flips the narrative on the standard approach to success in the workplace. Rather than looking at happiness as a result of success, Shawn Achor, who spent years researching positive psychology at Harvard University, sees happiness as the first key step to achieving success. By following Achor’s tips, a good leader can become an extraordinary leader by running their company with a focus on positivity and potential.
Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams by Stefanie K. Johnson
Creating a workplace for all types of people is not only beneficial for your employees, but also for the functionality of your company as a whole according to Dr. Stefanie L. Johnson. Many leaders have the intention to foster an inclusive workplace, but action is key. In this book, Johnson walks the reader through the steps they can take to make inclusivity a reality, allowing readers and leaders to confront the biases that often lead them to reject uniqueness rather than embrace it.
Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed
Messing up is the first step to success according to Kristen Hadeed, who disproves the idea that good leaders are perfect leaders. As the founder of Student Maid, a cleaning company, Hadeed learned through action how to successfully run a business. But her success was not linear. This book inspires leaders to stop fixating on perfection and to instead jump straight into the unknown.
You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
Kate Murphy explores what she calls the “lost art of listening” in this book. Leaders must delegate tasks and communicate their ideas to others, but an excellent leader also must be able to listen to those they lead. The lessons in this guide draw on tips from top tier listeners, including a radio producer and a CIA agent, paired along with scientific studies that explore the psychology behind being a good listener. By engaging with others with curiosity and empathy in mind, Murphy says that listening, when done with intention, can be a more powerful action than speaking.
Even if you are already a successful leader, there is always more to be learned from other exceptional leaders. By taking the time to reflect on your leadership skills and learn how to improve them, you can improve the productivity of your company while also fostering a healthier and happier workplace.