Professional development is an important part of being a top leader. You could be a long-serving CEO, but the value of honing leadership techniques cannot be undermined.
One of the best ways of improving your leadership is by learning from the best – according to CEOs who have been on the ride and have the ticket to prove it. In fact, many have provided insight on their success and the ways to emulate this in books. While it might mean a bit of bedtime reading, you and your business could benefit from the knowledge of some of world’s leading CEOs.
1) Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek
“Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders – in that order.”
Simon Sinek’s 2011 book provides insight into why some people and organisations are superior than others. Through analysis of some of the greatest leaders in history, Sinek reveals that they all think, interact and communication in an opposite way to the rest of the population. This book offers a unique vision of how CEOs should lead and inspire their team.
2) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t – Jim Collins
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”
It is always interesting to know why different businesses achieve greatness over time and others don’t. This is exactly the premise of Jim Collins’ 2001 book based on his study of businesses throughout the 1990s. Even bad organisations with poor leadership can achieve long-term greatness with the right processes in place. This book explains how a business not born with great DNA can still be of value to customers and stakeholders.
3) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel Pink
“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.”
There is a common misconception that motivation and performance can be driven by rewards such as money or gifts. However, is this a mistake? Daniel Pink’s 2011 book analyses this notion and through over four decades of study suggests that the best way to get productivity from a human is by letting them set their own values and believe in their own abilities. This book is perfect for CEOs wanting to know the science behind workplace productivity and human psychology.
4) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R Covey
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
First published in 1989, it is one of the world’s best reads for CEOs looking to become more effective in their leadership. Stephen R Covey refers to a “true north” to which leaders should be aligning their goals and aspirations. By staying true to their character and perspective, CEOs have the ability to lead their team with confidence and move the business in the right direction. Each of the seven habits can be used both in and out of the workplace.
5) How to win friends & influence people – Dale Carnegie
“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
While this book has been around for over 60 years, the lessons and tools are still as important as ever. Packed full of stories and lessons, it offers a unique perspective of relationships (both business and personal) of people who are now very famous in their own right. This book can provide new ways of creating positive relationships and understanding how to be a strong leader for your business moving forward.