Leadership is an art that can be applied to all aspects of life. As with the development of any new skill, it helps to have a solid knowledge foundation and be a life-long learner. Described below are six of our favorite books. They have stood the test of time and are valuable reading for anyone ready to deepen their skills.
Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein
Ed Schein wrote this seminal book after reflecting on his fifty-plus years in the field of leadership and organization development. The book is the culmination of decades of insight gleaned from thousands of conversations. Schein defines Humble Inquiry as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” He goes on to say, “What builds a relationship, what solves problems, what moves things forward, is asking the right questions.” What we choose to ask, when we ask, what our underlying attitude is as we ask—all are key to relationship building, communication, and task performance.
Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs
Leadership agility is the master competency needed for sustained success in today’s complex, fast-paced business environment. Filled with client stories based on decades of research, this groundbreaking book identifies five levels that leaders move through in developing their agility. Real-life examples provide a road map that shows how to bring competencies to new levels.
Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems by Barry Johnson
This 4th edition classic reinforces the point that some complex problems simply do not have “solutions.” Rather, they are situations to manage. The key to being an effective leader is being able to recognize and manage such problems. Polarity Management presents a unique model and set of principles that will challenge you to look at situations in new ways.
Prisoners of Our Thoughts by Alex Pattakos and Elaine Dundon
This book honors and builds upon the legacy of Victor Frankl, the psychologist and Holocaust survivor who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. The authors apply Frankl’s core principles and approach explicitly to work and the workplace. The end of each chapter highlights a Meaning Reflection, Meaning Questions and a Meaning Affirmation. Spending time with these meaning-making activities is sure to help readers integrate the ideas into their daily lives.
A More Beautiful Question – The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger
Like Einstein, we believe that “questions are more important than knowledge.” Berger defines a beautiful question as an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something—and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change. He provides dozens of powerful questions that promote learning, insights and results.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
In this era of overwhelming work and not enough skilled staff, the Essentialist is in relentless pursuit of less but better. It doesn’t mean occasionally giving a nod to the principle. It means pursuing it in a disciplined way. It is about pausing constantly to ask, “Am I investing in the right activities?” McKeown scales new heights, scaffolding off traditional time management techniques.
How Can Innolect Help?
Improving your ability to lead requires commitment and intentional effort. At Innolect, we are known for helping our clients “Think Differently.” We help build the foundation for you to bring your best self to work, and we thrive on growing the leader in everyone.
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