Here are our top picks for the best leadership and business growth books this month.
Positive leaders are able to dramatically expand their people’s—and their own—capacity for excellence. And they accomplish this without enormous expenditures or huge heroic gestures. Here leading scholars—including Adam Grant, author of the bestselling Give and Take; positive organizational scholarship movement cofounders Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn; and thirteen more—describe how this is being done at companies such as Wells Fargo, Ford, Kelly Services, Burt’s Bees, Connecticut’s Griffin Hospital, the Michigan-based Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, and many others. They show that, like the butterfly in Brazil whose flapping wings create a typhoon in Texas, you can create profound positive change in your organization through simple actions and attitude shifts.
Are you “leadership material?” More importantly, do others perceive you to be? Sylvia Ann Hewlett, a noted expert on workplace power and influence, shows you how to identify and embody the Executive Presence (EP) that you need to succeed.
You can have the experience and qualifications of a leader, but without executive presence, you won’t advance. EP is an amalgam of qualities that true leaders exude, a presence that telegraphs you’re in charge or deserve to be. Articulating those qualities isn’t easy, however.
Based on a nationwide survey of college graduates working across a range of sectors and occupations, Sylvia Hewlett and the Center for Talent Innovation discovered that EP is a dynamic, cohesive mix of appearance, communication, and gravitas. While these elements are not equal, to have true EP, you must know how to use all of them to your advantage.
Filled with eye-opening insights, analysis, and practical advice for both men and women, mixed with illustrative examples from executives learning to use the EP, Executive Presence will help you make the leap from working like an executive to feeling like an executive.
It’s Not The How or What but the Who: Succeed By Surrounding Yourself With The Best by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz
Succeed by mastering the art of the who
Why surround yourself with the best? Because it matters—in all aspects of life.
In fact, in professional environments, getting people right—what global leadership authority Claudio Fernández-Aráoz calls “the art of great ‘who’ decisions”—marks the difference between success and failure. To thrive, you need to identify those with the highest potential, get them in your corner and on your team, and help them grow. Yet surprisingly very few of us are able to meet that challenge.
This series of short and engaging essays outlines the obstacles to great “who” decisions and offers solutions to address them in a systematic way. Drawing from several decades of experience in global executive search and talent development, as well as the latest management and psychology research, Fernández-Aráoz offers wisdom and practical advice to improve the choices we make about employees and mentors, business partners and friends, top corporate leaders and even elected officials.
Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation by Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent L. Lineback
Why can some organizations innovate time and again, while most cannot?
You might think the key to innovation is attracting exceptional creative talent. Or making the right investments. Or breaking down organizational silos. All of these things may help—but there’s only one way to ensure sustained innovation: you need to lead it—and with a special kind of leadership. Collective Genius shows you how.
Preeminent leadership scholar Linda Hill, along with former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, MIT researcher Emily Truelove, and Being the Boss coauthor Kent Lineback, found among leaders a widely shared, and mistaken, assumption: that a “good” leader in all other respects would also be an effective leader of innovation. The truth is, leading innovation takes a distinctive kind of leadership, one that unleashes and harnesses the “collective genius” of the people in the organization.
Using vivid stories of individual leaders at companies like Volkswagen, Google, eBay, and Pfizer, as well as nonprofits and international government agencies, the authors show how successful leaders of innovation don’t create a vision and try to make innovation happen themselves. Rather, they create and sustain a culture where innovation is allowed to happen again and again—an environment where people are both willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem solving requires.
Uplifting Leadership: Your Performance, Your People and Yourself by Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle and Alma Harris
What does it take to do more with less? How can you do better than before, or better than others? How do you turn losses into wins, or near-bankruptcy into strong profitability, or abject failure into stellar success?
The power of uplift enables any organization to do more with less, beat the competition, and perform better than ever. Leaders who uplift their employees’ passions, intellects, and commitments produce remarkable results.
Based on original research from a seven-year global study, Uplifting Leadership reveals how leaders from diverse organizations inspired and uplifted their teams’ performance. Distilling the six common characteristics of leaders at high-performing organizations across business, sports, and education, authors Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle, and Alma Harris explore the nature of uplift, its impact on performance, and the ways to achieve it within and beyond an organization’s walls, revealing how leaders:
Identify and articulate an inspiring dream that is coherently connected to the best of what the organization has been before
Pursue that dream at a sustainable pace without squandering resources, incurring excessive debt, or burning people out
Forge paths of innovation and improvement that others have overlooked or rejected
Monitor progress by using metrics and indicators in a mindful and meaningful way
Build teams that naturally pull people into change rather than pushing them through it
Featuring case studies of organizations as diverse as Shoebuy.com, Fiat, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Marks & Spencer, Cricket Australia, Burnley Football Club, and the Vancouver Giants, as well as world-leading educational systems, Uplifting Leadership provides tools for leaders to incorporate these performance-driving strategies into their own.