One of my New Year's resolutions is to read more. Leadership development is a demanding field, and my list of "must read" books for 2018 continues to grow. In fact, thought leaders like Simon Sinek, believe that individuals who read at least twenty minutes a day are more successful than those who don't.
But finding those extra twenty minutes? That can be challenging for many of us. It will require things like forgoing that extra episode of Survivor, not checking emails first thing when you wake up, and possibly using some of that lunch hour to read books instead of updating your social media.
It will be worth it! I know this because I always use what I read. Sometimes I integrate it into my own tool-set, and sometimes I speak about what I've learned at work, at home--even at cocktail parties. If you, like me, decide you're going to spend more time reading, you'll look, seem and actually be a little smarter. And there are lots of advantages to that.
Since my expertise is in growing leaders, bridging cultures, and empowering teams, I'd like to offer my list of the top five leadership development books to read in 2018 (not a ranking):
1. Lifestorming: Creating Meaning and Achievement in Your Career and Life, Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith
Weiss and Goldsmith have written hundreds of books out between the two of them. They are considered two of the best leadership coaches out there. Now, after long careers in business consulting and coaching they have teamed up to write a book about "meaning," which is very relevant today. Many leaders struggle to inspire and motivate their teams globally, and the Gallup polls show that the number one reason why people stay in a job is that they feel like they're making a difference.
Andy is a colleague in the intercultural world. He's written quite a bit on cross-cultural communication, and I enjoy his writing style. This time he's come out with a book to help leaders feel more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. That is, he examines what it means when you're managing or leading outside your comfort zone and need to react quickly to solve a problem or negotiate with others.
Although the concept of Emotional Intelligence has been around since 1989, the Emotional Quotient or EQ is simply the most important skill any leader can possess. Particularly in today's digital age, technical needs will be more and more automated and what managers will have left is people interaction. We see EQ when it's there, and we feel it when it's not. What I find fascinating is that EQ can be taught and learned. Leaders can practice it; it's not only innate.
The Power of Introversion is a well-known book at this point, but if you haven't read it yet, it is a must, particularly if you self-identify as an introvert. Susan is reassuring and has lots of practical advice on how to navigate in an extroverted world. She makes it clear that it is a question of energy, not a 'shy' problem. Introverts recharge by being alone; extroverts source energy from being with people. It's crucial to know how to interact and manage those with a preference for introversion and extroversion.
5. Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining the Competitive Edge in a Disruptive World, Carsten Linz, et al
These days, pretty much everywhere you turn, there's talk of digitalization--in how we travel, the products we buy, and how we pay for them. The trend is sweeping the world, many industries at a time. Linz breaks down the complexity of digitalization, disproving myths and making sure the reader truly understands its significance and application to the business world. This book will eliminate fear and prepare individuals and organizations for what's to come.
There are so many books to support great leaders out there--but my preference is to follow leading concepts in managing diversity, practical business advice to motivate teams, and cutting-edge data on true developments making a difference in the business world. I have found each of books listed above invaluable, and I hope you will too.
If you decide to join me in reading more, give me shout and let me know how it's going. What are you reading now?