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4 Books and an Organization: Leadership Resources

“Charles: Why am I always at, uh, weddings, and never actually getting married, Matt?

Matthew: It’s probably ’cause you’re a bit scruffy. Or it could also be ’cause you haven’t met the right girl.

Charles: Ah, but you see, is that it? Maybe I have met the right girls. Maybe I meet the right girls all the time. Maybe it’s me.”

From Four Weddings and a Funeral

Maybe you are wondering why you are always part of the committee, but never in charge of the committee. Or maybe you are concerned that some of your team members never seem to step up for leadership roles. These days almost everyone is interested in leadership and why shouldn’t they be? Between Boomers retiring and Millenials favoring more horizontally-structured organizations, most of us could benefit from additional leadership knowledge. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite leadership resources to help you whether you are looking to bone up for your own career success or you have been tasked with planning a leadership development event.

Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today by Jeanne H. Bradner

leading-volunteers

“Good leaders build confidence in others. They empower others rather than control them.”

It’s hard to believe this book was written 15 years ago, but in some ways it is even more relevant today. As we mentioned above, not only are more organizations using a horizontal or flat approach to leadership, but there are also times when you are working with people in other departments or organizations. This means taking the authoritarian approach of telling people to do something just because you are the boss or in charge won’t necessarily work. Working in these situations takes a different skills and knowledge. Those are the same type of skills you would use when leading volunteers. This short (105 pages), easy-to-read book lays out 10 steps for leading volunteers from developing a vision to helping people find the right fit to using conflict and communication strategies.

The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

leadership-challenge

“Leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue. To enlist support, leaders must have an intimate knowledge of people’s dreams, hopes, aspirations, visions, and values.”

This 2007 book [1] is a perennial favorite and included in many academic classes. Although this book is longer, with 351 pages of text, it is broken down into 7 sections and covers the 5 practices of exemplary leadership (Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart) using real stories and examples.

One of our favorite lines is “The Kouzes-Posner First Law of Leadership: If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Leader to Leader 2: Enduring Insights on Leadership from the Leader to Leader Institute’s Award Winning Journal edited by Frances Hesselbein and Alan Schrader

leader-to-leader

This is another leadership classic and like The Leadership Challenge runs about 350 pages. As the title says, it is a collection of articles on leadership by a variety of leaders including Steven Covey, Rosabeth Moss Cantor, Douglas K. Smith, and many more.  This book covers 5 areas: Understanding Leadership, Improving Your Personal Effectiveness, Developing People and Teams, Leading High-Performance Organizations, and Leading Strategically in a World That Demands Innovation.

One of our favorite paragraphs:

“The quality of leadership depends on the quality of our awareness. Our awareness often suggests a world of obstacles and adversaries. It presents a reality of people and problem separate from ourselves.  Such awareness shapes our goals in way that limit our creative potential. For example, it causes leaders to mobilize people to fight enemies or oppose situations other have created….This attitude of victimization robs us of our sense of connectedness to the larger world and, regardless of our success, leaves us feeling smaller rather than larger.”

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

lean-in

“Humor can be an amazing tool for delivering an honest message in a good-natured way. A recent study even found that ‘sense of humor’ was the phrase most frequently used to describe the most effective leaders.”

This is a recent book, published in 2013 and written by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook. With a lean 173 pages, this book examines various aspects and challenges of women in leadership by “combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research.” In 11 chapters Sandberg covers topics such as finding a mentor, women’s struggles with likeability, fear, and being able to do and have it all as well as other topics.

Toastmasters International: Where Leaders Are Made

toastmasterOriginally founded in 1926 to help people overcome their fear of public speaking, Toastmasters realized that communication and leadership are integrally connected. Toastmasters membership provides ample opportunities to learn and practice leadership and public speaking skills in a supportive environment. Toastmasters clubs are widely available and can be found online at the link above. Additionally, the main website offers a variety of resources – both leadership and public speaking – free of charge to anyone whether they are members or not.

For more leadership tips and resources or to share some of your favorite resources follow us on Facebook! Want to set up a leadership development or team-building event for your organization? Give us a call at 817-430-1561 or contact us via our website form.

[1] There is a newer edition available.

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