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top 10 management books

Top 10 Management Books That Will Make You a Great Leader

By Alicia Beharry
Published on April 12, 2021

The world’s greatest leaders and business minds understand the value that reading encompasses. By reading regularly, we expose ourselves to the words of others and this helps us to engage in new ways of thinking and alternate perspectives.

With an ever-expanding number of business books appearing almost daily, it may seem difficult and overwhelming on where to begin. Especially if you are in a new career role and still trying to get your bearings.

To help you get started we have compiled a valuable list aimed at those who are new to a managerial role. Let’s dive into the top 10 books that can help empower your leadership role, for new and seasoned managers alike. 

1) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

This influential book by Stephen R. Covey discusses seven practices that promote personal effectiveness. His insights include how to focus on outcomes, developing connections with others, methods of effective prioritization, and balancing work, home and personal responsibilities.

Covey’s idea is that true leadership starts from within. As a leader this book will help you manage your inner well-being, create a personal vision, and cultivate self-control. If you are conducting in-person or online training, you will be able to now extend this positive influence to others.

2) The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo

A book by Julie Zhuo, Facebook’s first intern, was made a manager at the age of 25. 

Starting out with no management experience and the enormous weight of her staff’s expectations on her shoulders, Julie had no choice but to take the reins. Many years of experience and plenty of teams later, Zhuo has written The Making Of A Manager, specifically to aid new managers by providing clear direction and practical advice for the newly promoted. Ev Williams, the co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Medium, is one of several successful people who recommend this book.

3) On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

A must read by Warren Bennis. Bennis was a business school professor at the University of Southern California. He got his first taste of leadership during World War 2 when he was one of the youngest lieutenants to serve in Europe.

He is a firm believer that leaders are made, not born. It outlines several traits that make up a great leader. This read will empower you and your online learners in becoming self-aware, curious, and risk-takers. 

4) Now, Discover Your Strengths: How To Develop Your Talents And Those Of The People You Manage by Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham writes about how we are usually taught to identify our weaknesses and focus on overcoming them.

He argues that this “fault first” approach is one that leads us to ignore our strengths, or at the very least under-utilize them. This is one of many books written by Buckingham and has made it to the list because within each copy lies a unique access code.

The code allows you to complete an online interview to discover your five greatest strengths. Once discovering them, the book provides resources that will enable you to leverage those strengths, not only in your professional role but also in your personal life. Facebook COO Sheryl Sanberg has mentioned, “This book has been instrumental in how we think about developing talent at Facebook.”

5) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

A list of the best management books will not be complete without this book by Dale Carnegie. The wisdom in this book has influenced generations as they make connections, persuade others, and encourage positive change.

Carnegie reveals some of the “soft skills” of good leadership, such as making people feel important and appreciated. Implementing the ideas found in this classic book will help you be a better leader, negotiator, and motivator.

He provides this important perspective: “Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself?” This pick is especially good if you are creating online training courses or managing a remote team.

6) Talking To Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell 

While not written specifically for managers or even those in business, Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell examines how most of us are predisposed to believing other people are being honest and transparent.

Gladwell moves from this belief to the fact that when someone behaves in a way that is seen as outside of the norm, we usually have an automatically negative response. Gladwell challenges the tools and strategies we use to speak with others.

Not only that, he discusses how the ways in which we interact can lead to misunderstandings, conflict, and potentially catastrophic consequences. With virtual online training on the rise, utilizing the knowledge in this book will help you better communicate with your team.

According to Oprah Winfrey, “Talking to Strangers is a must-read…I love this book… Reading it will actually change not just how you see strangers, but how you look at yourself, the news–the world…Reading this book changed me.”

7) Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

This relatively short Wall Street Journal bestseller by Liz Wiseman, explores two leadership styles. If you are leading online training, you want to be a “Multiplier”.

She persuasively shows how Multipliers can have a resoundingly positive and profitable effect on organizations.

“Multipliers” are the ones who get more done with fewer resources, develop and attract talent, and cultivate new ideas and energy to drive organizational change and innovation. On the other hand, “Diminishers” are the type of people who drain creativity and innovation from their teams. 

8) Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

A book by Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, an online retailer that does over one billion dollars in sales annually. In this book, Hsieh explains his secrets to success.

Some of the strategies he outlined include giving you employees control over their jobs (autonomy), acknowledging and encouraging progress both professionally and personally, connecting with your team personally, and being someone people would want to work for, among many others.

In the current time we are in, with most employees learning and training online, these tips are extremely relevant.

In addition, if you are interested in having your own business or developing in your leadership role, this is a fantastic read.

9) The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

The Leadership Challenge written by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, explores the difference between good leaders and great leaders. The authors outline 5 practices of exemplary leadership: model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart. Anyone orchestrating an online course or class, or simply looking for a great management and leadership book needs to add this to their list.

10) Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

Written by Kim Scott, the co-founder and CEO of Candor, Inc. Kim has been an advisor at Dropbox, Kurbo, Qualtrics, Shyp, Twitter, and several other tech companies.

She was a member of the faculty at Apple University and before that led AdSense, YouTube, and Operations at Google. In this insightful book about leadership and management, she shares her years of knowledge.

In order to be an effective leader and get the best results out of your online training, you must truly care while still challenging employees directly. 

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