a year ago

Must-read books to unlock leadership potential

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Last year, Adnan read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. Adnan, the COO of a digital agency, hardly ever finds the time to read a book. However, the book's usefulness struck him right away, and he was unable to put it down. He was so enamoured with the book that he found himself incorporating the habits into both his professional and personal life, resulting in increased productivity and improved relationships. He also planned a workshop for his team so they could discuss the lessons from the book as a group.
Adnan realised, like many others, that books function as time machines. By offering you the tools made by others, they can save you a tremendous amount of time. Stephen Covey's book is considered a classic for productivity and leadership. In addition, there are several more books one should consider to develop the skills and mindset necessary to lead effectively. Here is a list and summary of books that might assist executives to lead in their jobs.
'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen Covey: "The key is not to prioritise what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." This classic book offers a step-by-step guide to become a more effective leader, through adopting seven habits. The key habits mentioned in the books are-- being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand, then to be understood, synergising, sharpening the saw. These habits help in both one's professional and personal development.
'Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us' by Daniel Pink: "Autonomy is the power to steer our own lives. It is the feeling that we are in control of our own destiny."
In this book, the science of motivation is explored, along with the reasons why conventional rewards and punishments don't work and what really drives people. The book is full of insightful ideas, such as how autonomy, mastery, and purpose are essential to motivation.
The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries: "The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else."In order to succeed, Eric Ries emphasises the value of testing and iterating in his novel approach to founding and expanding businesses. He explains that success may be attained by developing a "minimum viable product" that can be evaluated by customers and improved in response to their comments.
"The Power of Intentional Leadership" by John C Maxwell: "The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up." This book serves as a manual for improving leadership abilities and provides readers with useful advice and anecdotes to help them become better leaders. John C Maxwell suggests that it's of utmost importance to be intentional in leadership and lead from the heart.
"Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek: "Leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in your charge." It is impossible to over-emphasise the value of cooperation and trust in leadership. Simon Sinek demonstrates how managers can cultivate these ideals at work. The book uses examples from the military, business, and sports to show how leaders who prioritise the well-being of their team members are more successful.
"Good to Great" by Jim Collins: "Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great."Jim Collins offers a framework for comprehending what makes some businesses outstanding and how leaders might foster an excellent culture. The author discusses how great firms have a strong sense of purpose, a culture of discipline, and they focus on the correct things based on a study of 11 companies that went from being good to being great.
'The Art of Possibility' by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander: "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." In both our personal and professional lives, our beliefs may be a hindrance. ‘The Art of Possibility’ is a manual for overcoming constricting ideas and embracing alternative thinking in order to open up new possibilities in leadership and life. One can create a new reality for oneself by changing his or her perspective and embracing the unexpected.
'Start with Why' by Simon Sinek: "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." In leadership, communication is essential. This book demonstrates how leaders can effectively communicate by comprehending and outlining the motivation or "why" behind what they do. Simon Sinek mentions that the most successful leaders are those who are able to inspire others by clearly communicating their purpose and beliefs.
"Daring Greatly" by Brené Brown: "Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. It's the glue that holds relationships together." Leadership is not all about showing strength. Vulnerability plays an important role too. Vulnerability is a key component of effective leadership, and leaders who are willing to be vulnerable are better able to connect with others and inspire them to take action.
'The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership' by John C Maxwell: "The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis." This book shares practical laws that leaders must follow to be effective, and includes examples and stories of leaders who have successfully applied these principles. John C Maxwell emphasises the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions, building relationships, and leading by example.
'The Innovator's Dilemma' by Clayton Christensen: "The most dangerous words in business are, 'We've always done it this way'." Companies can stay innovative and competitive by understanding and adapting to disruptive technologies. Established companies often fail to innovate because they focus on their most profitable customers. Leaders must be willing to take risks and pursue new opportunities.
'The Leadership Challenge' by James M Kouzes and Barry Z Posner: "Leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in your charge." From defining a vision to motivating others to follow, the writers offer a thorough introduction to leadership. In the end, being a leader is about having a goal, inspiring others to share that vision, and inspiring them to work together to achieve it.
These books offer a wealth of practical advice and inspiration for leaders at all levels. These books will undoubtedly be helpful to anyone wishing to launch a business, manage a team, or simply develop their own leadership abilities.
With so many activities competing for one's time, it can be challenging to start a new habit or find the time to read a new book. The key is to pick one of the good ones and just start to read as the journey to become a better leader starts with the first page.

The writer is working as the strategic insights lead at a leading multinational company in Bangladesh. He obtained his MBA from INSEAD business school.
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