What does it take to be a great manager? Having a well-stacked bookshelf, for one.
Whether you’re leading a team of two, 20, or 200—or aspiring to do any of the three one day—every good manager knows his or her role comes with its share of diverse and overwhelming obstacles, from delegating tasks to finding a balance with life. These titles are a must read if you want to be the best boss you can be.
1. On Leading: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
There are tons of books out there on leadership—but this one looks at it from a whole new angle. Tribes, which Godin describes as any group of people, are now appearing everywhere and in the most unexpected forms. By looking at various “surprising” tribes, Godin reveals a method for stepping outside of the status quo in a way that will inspire others to follow you.
2. On How to Implement Change: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath
Change is inevitable in an organization. It’s also not always easy to execute, especially if your subordinates—or you—are stuck in old ways. Instead of providing dry advice on “change management,” the Heaths spin a compelling narrative steeped in research, insight, and psychology, with illustrative examples from real situations on how you can make changes in your organization. A fun read—you won’t be able to put this down, and when you do, you’ll do so with three areas to focus on when it comes to change.
3. On Women Making it to the Top: Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P. Frankel
Girls don’t hold the corner office—women do. Perfect for the aspiring manager, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office reveals certain behaviors—if the title didn’t clue you in, there are 101—that women learn as young girls that later sabotage them as adults. Ultimately, the book ends up reading as a self-assessment as you recognize and change the habits that would otherwise prevent you from climbing up the ladder.
4. On How to Motivate Your Team: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
How are you motivating your team? If your answer is money and rewards, then this book is for you. Contrary to popular belief, extrinsic incentives aren’t the best way to drive your employees. With anecdotes and research, Pink reveals the secrets of motivation—purpose, mastery, and autonomy. Read this, and you won’t have a high turnover rate on your hands.
5. On Not Giving Up: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
This one’s for the days when you want to bang your head on your desk or when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Duckworth explores the thought process of when you fall down, and how passion and persistence can get you back up and lead you to true success. You’ll takeaway inspiration from history, shows, and insight from high achievers themselves on what it means to persevere, and ultimately find achievement in a whole new way.
6. On Networking: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Published more than 75 years ago, How to Win Friends and Influence People is a classic when it comes to management books—and for good reason. In it, Carnegie teaches the art of communicating and interacting with people in a meaningful way. It’s these connections, he says, that will be crucial to your success as a leader. As they say, it’s always about who you know.
7. On How to Find Balance: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
Drawing from her own experiences as a CEO, Huffington redefines success as something much more than money and a powerful position, emphasizing the importance of well-being and connecting with others. Thrive will make you think, and provide you with new ways to relieve stress. Read this when you’re feeling the onset of burnout—it will remind you that there’s a lot more to life than being a manager.
This article was originally published on Career Contessa. It has been republished here with permission.
About The Author
Career Contessa is an online platform facilitating honest conversations by real women about work and life—to help you achieve fulfillment and balance in both.