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5 Books You Need to Read if You Want to Become a Better Leader

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leadership books
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

When you run your own business, you’re more than a business owner, you’re a leader. And if you want your business to be successful, you need to be the kind of leader that inspires the best in your team. Being a great leader isn’t necessarily something you’re born with, it’s something you learn.

One of the best places to look for tips on how to improve your leadership skills might surprise you: your local bookstore. Books are a great way to learn more about the skills necessary to lead your team to success.

Here are five books you need to read if you want to be an exemplary leader:

1. Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brené Brown

Many people believe that the key to great leadership is perfection. They think that if you want to lead, you need to appear to have all the answers all the time. But according to author and researcher Brene Brown, nothing can be further from the truth. According to her research of a decade, the key to great leadership is actually admitting that you don’t have all the answers. It’s all about being vulnerable and human with your team.

In “Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”, Brown talks about the benefits of vulnerability in the workplace and how allowing your team to see the real you – flaws and all – is (despite popular belief) a leadership asset and leads to more engaged and successful businesses.

If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like you need to be everything for everyone in your business, this book is a must-read.

“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” – Brené Brown

2. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

One of the most important parts of being a great leader is getting people to do what you want them to do – and to like you while they’re doing it. “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is timeless in the business world; it was written by Dale Carnegie in 1936. But this classic is just as much a relevant and important read for business owners and leaders today as it was when it was written over 80 years ago.

In this book, Carnegie shows you how to make people you interact with in your business feel valued, heard, and appreciated  – whether it’s team members, colleagues or clients. He also talks about how to win their influence and get them on your side on important business decisions without inspiring resentment, which is an absolute must for an effective leader.

If you want to improve your relationships with the people in your organization and get them on your side on the important stuff (and what leader doesn’t?), make sure you pick up this book.

3. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers – Tim Ferriss

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a panel of the richest, most powerful, and most successful people in the world to offer you leadership advice whenever you needed it? It certainly would. And while you might not be able to have the most successful leaders in the world at your beck and call, “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” is definitely a close second.

In this engrossing read, “The 4-hour Workweek” author Tim Ferriss, has gathered some of the best business and leadership advice he’s heard in his years of hosting “The Tim Ferriss Show,” a podcast where he interviews billionaires, icons, and world-class performers (as the title suggests). “Tools of Titans” features actionable advice from his 200+ guests on how to be a better leader, how to increase your performance, and how to build a better business (and life in the process).

4. The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumphs – Ryan Holiday

When faced with obstacles, you have two decisions: you can let them sink you or you can use them as opportunities for growth. And if you want to be a great leader, you need to show your team that the latter decision is the only option.

In “The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumphs” author and entrepreneur Ryan Holiday, explores how the Greek philosophy of stoicism (which is the philosophy of facing challenges adversity and challenges with resilience), has helped some of the most successful leaders in history overcome obstacles and adversity and transform them into triumphs – triumphs that lead to unparalleled levels of success.

If you want to foster a culture in your business that embraces obstacles and uses them as launching pads for bigger successes, you need to lead the charge – and “The Obstacle Is The Way” will show you how to do that.

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” – Ryan Holiday

5. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman

If you want to be a great leader, it’s important that you’re book smart. But it’s even more important that you’re emotionally intelligent. In “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” psychologist Daniel Goleman, talks about the importance of emotional intelligence – the ability to bridge the rational and emotional minds to better relate to ourselves and our teams.

In this book, Goleman breaks down the five core characteristics of emotional intelligence, why they’re important, and how to cultivate them in order to be a more effective and empathetic leader. If you want to create a better connection with your team – and inspire better work in the process – you need to add this book to your list.

Great leadership is an evolution; if you want to be a successful leader, you need to constantly work on becoming better. With these five books, you’ll be well on your way.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Parker Davis is the CEO of Nexa, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology-enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Nexa achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him @callnexa and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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