Real leaders read real books, especially when they're about to enter a new stage in business and life. Hiring your first employee is one of those critical stages. On one hand, it's exciting that your business is growing faster than you can keep up with on your own. On the other hand, hiring the wrong person for the wrong role can be costly.

Ideally, you want to get it right the first time. The correct person will be inspired by your mission, get along with you, and wear multiple hats. These three books will help you get started:

1. Scaling Up - How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't by Verne Harnish

The first obvious pick for me is Scaling Up, because that is essentially what you are doing, one new hire at a time. Scaling Up is the revised version of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, in which Verne originally shared the "Rockefeller Habits" he created based on the leadership and management principles used by John D. Rockefeller, an oil industry business magnate.

Unlike some other books I've read on business growth, this one immediately provides highly valuable and usable tips you can start implementing in your business. I couldn't have picked up this book at a better time as my big focus for this year is to scale my business without losing my personal touch, and bring on a few more ghostwriters. I like the simplicity and practicality of the entire book, and that's why I highly recommend it to others.

If you're looking to scale your business the right way, read this one first.

2. Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters

I have to be honest here, Rocket Fuel is technically about finding the right business partner, not your first employee. It is, however, part of a larger framework known as the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which does shed light on dealing with people-issues like hiring and firing. Who knows, maybe you thought you needed an employee, but what you actually need is a co-founder or business partner.

The premise of Rocket Fuel is that an entrepreneurial company needs both a Visionary and an Integrator to reach new heights, similar to how actual rockets manage to escape gravity with enough fuel. The Visionary comes up with ideas. The Integrator brings those ideas to life. Unless you're part of the rare 5%, you're either a Visionary or an Integrator, not both.

To find out, take the free online assessment. Then read the book to learn more about what it means to be a Visionary and an Integrator, as well as how to find your counterpart and maintain a healthy relationship using simple and practical tools. You might also find it helpful to read the other EOS books.

3. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

This book came into existence when Gretchen Rubin started asking, "how do we respond to expectations?"--for both inner expectations (i.e. New Year's resolutions) and outer expectations (i.e. work or school deadlines). Whether or not people meet these expectations puts them into one of the four tendencies:

  • Upholders: who meet both outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners: who only respond to inner expectations
  • Obligers: who only respond to outer expectations
  • Rebels: who resist both inner and outer expectations

Most people are either Obligers or Questioners, which is interesting because I have worked with both types.

Whether you're bringing on a co-founder or first hire, it's important to set the right expectations and communication preferences from the beginning. Start by having everyone on your team, including future hires, take the free online quiz and share the results with each other. Then read the book too because it describes each tendency in detail, including how to use the other person's tendency to build commitment and accountability.

With these three books, I wish you a successful 2019.