Category Archives: Vision

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.

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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

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

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

What is Leadership? – Part I [Video of short lecture – 5 Minutes]

This is part one of a two-part introduction to my discussion of the nature of leadership in my MBA Classes at Charleston Southern University.

In this video, I provide an overview of the core elements of leadership according to the academic literature.

Then I briefly discuss:

  • Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern UniversityVision,
  • Influence
  • motivation

Want More? Watch Part II of What Is Leadership? Part II will be the best 10 minutes you spend today, or your money back (actually, that is not much of a claim since it is free, but I stand behind my content).

invisible-employeeThe Wayne Gretsky story comes from Adrian Gostick’s book, The Invisible Employee.   At the time of this writing,  used copies are selling on Amazon for as little as a penny.

His other books are linked below on the Amazon page. I would recommend that you read everything Gostick writes.

 

Darin Gerdes

December 1, 2012

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

2 Comments

Filed under Effectiveness, Efficiency, Influence, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Organizational Behavior, Video in Post, Vision

The More You Know, The More You See.

What do you see in the pictures below?

If you are like most people, you see two men. If you are like most Americans, you probably see Middle-Easterners, but you may not be able to tell much more than that.  In Brotherhood of Warriors, Aaron Cohen, a former Israeli Special Forces counter-terrorism solder explained what he sees. He wrote:

There are different types of dress in various parts of the [Palestinian] territories. The red-and-white keffiyehs are dominant in some parts, black-and-white or green-and-white in still others. Red-and-white means the neighborhood supports Hamas; black-and-white means it supports Fatah; green-and-white, which can be seen much less frequently, means Hezbollah. We would know in advance which areas we’d be going into on a mission, and if the color of our keffiyehs wasn’t correct, we’d have gotten [expletive deleted] up quick (p. 148).

The point of this article is that the more you know, the more you see. Aaron Cohen saw enough to avoid danger.  Where we sees keffiyehs, he saw the equivalent of Palestinian gang colors.

By the way, a FBI agent sees something else. He would see Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani (left) and Muhammad Sa’id Ali Hasan (right). The are both wanted by the FBI.

Example #2

What do you see here?

This time, you see an X-ray of a human body. Do you see a 70 Year old? Do you see the prostate cancer? How about the  hypercalcemia and diffuse osteoblastic bone metastases? Follow the arrows. Still don’t see it? Your doctor sees it.

The more you know, the more you see.

Example #3

Read the list below:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

We all see this as a list of 10 items. Some will realize that it is a political agenda. Closer inspection will reveal that we have already accomplished #2 and #10 and we are actively working on #3, #5,  and #7.

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The political scientist or well-trained economist (or perhaps a sharp history teacher) will realize that this is directly from the end of Chapter 2 of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

Again, the more you know, the more you see. It works the same way in any field–the military, medicine, politics, or business.

Example #4

Sam Wyly was a serial entrepreneur who founded University Computing Company (UCC), owned Bonanza Steakhouse, bought Michael’s Arts and Crafts, and co-founded  Maverick Capital.

In his book, 1000 Dollars and an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire Sam Wyly  recounts the story of a skeptic who questioned how he could have made a 199% return on an investment. He wrote:

I answered, “I read a lot.” The questioner laughed. But I wasn’t joking. It’s true. I do read all the time. What I’m trying to say is that having good timing is a result of paying attention to the ideas and trends floating around out there, studying them, coming to some intellectual conclusions, and then, ultimately, listening to your own gut about how to apply your conclusions to the business ventures you elect to pursue (p. 224).

There is a reason that Warren Buffett is one of the richest men on earth. He is currently #3 on the Forbes list.

Buffett  famously quipped: “Some men read Playboy. I read annual reports.”

What Sets Some People Apart From Others?

There is no mystery or magic here. Insight comes from investigation. What do you need to see? What are you doing to learn about the subject?

Darin Gerdes

November 30, 2012

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

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Filed under Books, Economics, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Interdisciplinary, Leadership, Management, Military, Success, Vision