The Professor’s Picks: Top 10 Leadership Books

I am regularly asked for reading suggestions by MBA students. Sometimes I am asked by complete strangers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/DarinGerdes) for reading suggestions when they learn that I am a management professor.

My bookshelf at Charleston Southern University.

My bookshelf at Charleston Southern University.

So I have decided to provide my personal top ten list of leadership books. If you have read my Blog, you will notice that these are books that I have recommended in other articles.  That is because these are some of the best.

Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern UniversityNote: If you are interested in any of the books listed below, click on the title or the picture. I have linked each to Amazon.com so you can click through and purchase the book. I like to use Kindle because I want to get it right now (and you can download right to your PC with no additional hardware required), but the hardback and softcover editions are listed too.

Top 10 Books on Leadership:

Leadership ChallengeThe Leadership Challenge – This one is one of the few books that has fundamentally altered my thinking on leadership.

With 20 to 30 years of leadership research backing the findings, the leadership challenge is one of the sources I trust the most on leadership.

leadership-and-self-deceptionLeadership and Self-Deception – This short little read will cause a paradigm shift in your thinking. Read it, and you will never be the same.

Do you really see people as people or as things to be manipulated? If the latter (and most of us think like this from time to time), we will run into a host of leadership problems.

its_Your_shipIt’s your Ship – Written by a Navy Captain who transformed one of the worst ships in the Navy into the best. This book incredibly inspirational.

Captain Abrashoff  know how to empower his people and he applied these techniques to his command. Apply these ideas to your team too.

21 Irrefutable laws-of-leadershipThe 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell  (one of the leading and most prolific writers on leadership) provides outstanding practical advice on leadership. His insights are right on target.

If you have already read the 21 Irrefutable laws, get Leadership Gold.

Primal LeadershipPrimal Leadership – This book blends the study of leadership and emotional intelligence.I found it remarkable because it suggests that the best leaders rotate between 6 basic leadership styles depending on the need.

If you like this, you may also like Emotional Intelligence and Resonant Leadership (by the same authors).

lead like Jesus

Lead Like Jesus – Learn to lead with the towel and basin. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, setting an example for his disciples to follow.

This book is much more intelligible than Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership (the book that started the servant leadership movement), and it is written from a well-developed Christian perspective .

Five Dysfunctions of a team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – This book is written in the leadership parable genre made popular by Ken Blanchard. It is surprisingly simple, but you have to read through the entire story to grasp it.

Read the book and apply it. Before long, you will be the change you see.

Leadership Theory and Practice

Leadership Theory and Practice – This one is a textbook that covers all of the academic theories on leadership.

Purchase this only if you are looking for an academic view of leadership. Of course, if you are looking for a textbook, I have to recommend my textbook: The Bottom Line in Leadership and Management.

On Becoming a LeaderOn Becoming a Leader – Warren Bennis is perhaps the leading authority on leadership. He has been teaching Leadership at UCLA since 1979. He has his own series of books on leadership written by many different authors.

On Becoming a Leader is a must read for the serious student of leadership. It is considered a classic in the field.

Steward LeaderThe Steward Leader –  If you are a Christian, I am not sure that you can lead properly without understanding the concepts in this book.

As a Christian, you are not leading for you, but you are a steward of that which God has entrusted to your care. However, all leaders should understand this concept, since most leaders are agents of others–senior, management, the board, or the people.

________________________

I will also compile a top ten list on:

  • Management
  • Organizational Behavior & Teamwork
  • Economics
  • Business.

What books would you like to see on the list? What have I missed? I am always looking for good suggestions. Thanks for reading.

Darin Gerdes

December 4, 2012

_______________

Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under Books, Effectiveness, Influence, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Success, Trust, Vision

8 responses to “The Professor’s Picks: Top 10 Leadership Books

  1. Similar to Michael Abrashoff’s book, “It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy,” I would also recommend a new release by another (retired) Navy Commanding Officer, “Turn The Ship Around: How to Create Leadership at Every Level,” by L. David Marquet. He commanded the nuclear submarine, USS Santa Fe. He transformed his crew from worst to first in the fleet.

    David’s book reveals a solid, well-proven leadership approach which comes down to empowering people; giving people real responsibility and real authority; inspiring the empowerment of engaged people and leadership at all levels. On the USS Santa Fe, David’s leadership structure established mechanisms that created a favorable environment in which the crew were released to grow their knowledge and skills, ultimately gaining the autonomy over their tasks and resources to become leaders. At the same time, David’s approach challenged the paradigm of the hierarchical organization by revealing the process to tear down pyramids, create a flat organization, and to develop leaders, not followers.

    David is a remarkable person. His accomplishments onboard the USS Santa Fe are impressive, and his book is a must read.

  2. Pingback: Put the Christmas List on Your Reading List | The Professor's Analysis

  3. Pingback: How To Deal With Difficult People. | The Professor's Analysis

  4. Pingback: The Secret of Getting Your People to Perform for You. | The Professor's Analysis

  5. Enjoyed the book list, and thanks for pointing out some resources I wasn’t previously aware of.

  6. Pingback: The Secret of Getting Your People to Perform for You. | ProfessorThink:

  7. Pingback: Put the Christmas List on Your Reading List | ProfessorThink:

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s