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6 Best Books for Leadership That Will Help Transform Your Business

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For a business owner, the ability to lead and motivate their team can be the difference between success and failure. And the best books for leadership out there can help you develop the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Here, I’ve compiled a list of a few of the best books on leadership for business owners. These are the best leadership books to get help, whether you're just starting out or looking to upgrade your business competency.

Table of Contents

Reinventing Organizations, by Frederic Laloux

Reinventing Organizations is a must-read for business owners looking to create a purpose-driven organization. The book presents a new model of organizational structure based on a more soulful way to run a business. It discusses in detail how organizations large and small can adapt to this new structure. The book can help business owners build a culture that fosters trust, collaboration and a sense of belonging among the employees. It’s a joyful handbook, full of insights, examples and inspiring stories.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

We have reached a stage where we often pursue growth for growth’s sake, a condition that in medical terminology would simply be called cancer.

In a forest, there is no master tree that plans and dictates change when rain fails to fall or when the spring comes early. The whole ecosystem reacts creatively, in the moment.

When trust is extended, it breeds responsibility in return. Emulation and peer pressure regulates the system better than hierarchy ever could.

An organization cannot evolve beyond its leadership’s stage of development.

We often speak about “work-life balance,” a notion that shows how little life is left in work.

The Best Place to Work, by Ron Friedman

The Best Place to Work is a comprehensive guide for business owners who want to create a workplace that’s both productive and enjoyable. The book offers practical tips for improving workplace culture. It provides game-changing advice to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation and stronger performance. And it’s probably the best book on leadership, with insights from research in the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioural economics and others.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Studies indicate that happy employees are more productive, more creative, and provide better client service. They’re less likely to quit or call in sick. They act as brand ambassadors outside the office.

Failure, per se, is not enough. The important thing is to mine the failure for insight that can improve your next attempt.

The secret to happy workplaces isn’t spending more money. It’s about creating the conditions that allow employees to do their best work.

Company culture is not created through mission statements, slogans, or a set of written values. It is a product of leaders’ interactions with their team.

Micromanagement is the motivational equivalent of buying on credit. Enjoy a better product now, but pay a hefty price for it later.

Also Read: 9 Best Books for Project Managers

Start with Why, by Simon Sinek

Start with Why is a classic book on leadership that encourages business owners to focus on their organization's purpose and values. In this book, Simon explains what it truly takes to lead and inspire and how anyone can learn how to do it. He emphasizes on communicating the “why” for successful leaders to inspire their employees and customers. He uses real-life examples to illustrate how this approach can lead to greater loyalty, innovation and impact. The book can act as a guide to better decision-making and communication.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.

There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.

Great companies don't hire skilled people and motivate them. They hire already motivated people and inspire them.

You don’t hire for skills; you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.

The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.

Also Read: 31 Best Books for Business Owners and Startup Founders

Radical Candor, by Kim Malone Scott

Radical Candor is another among the must-read leadership business books. It’s for business owners and startup founders to learn how to give and receive feedback effectively. The book focuses on building strong workplace relationships while retaining your humanity. Kim shares examples and actionable advice to help business leaders care personally and challenge directly. It also explores the topic of finding meaning in work and creating an environment where people love their work and their colleagues.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Make sure that you are seeing each person on your team with fresh eyes every day. People evolve, and so your relationships must evolve with them. Care personally; don’t put people in boxes and leave them there.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

A good rule of thumb for any relationship is to leave three unimportant things unsaid each day.

When bosses are too invested in everyone getting along, they also fail to encourage the people on their team to criticize one another other for fear of sowing discord.

The essence of leadership is not getting overwhelmed by circumstances.

Also Read: 6 Best Books for Emotional Intelligence

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a classic book that provides business owners and startup owners with practical advice on how to build and maintain relationships. It’s considered one of the best books on leadership and communication to read. Dale provides actionable advice on how to become more likable, persuasive and effective. The book emphasizes the importance of listening and respecting others' opinions, and putting your thoughts clearly.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.

Don't be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

When dealing with people, remember you are dealing with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.

The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard

The One Minute Manager is among the best leadership books on managing time and teams more effectively. The book is structured around three key areas: goal setting, rewarding and giving feedback. It can help business owners understand how simple changes work in real management situations. It’s a short read with practical advice that can be easily implemented, and it can help in organisational growth in long term.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behavior matches your goals.

People who feel good about themselves produce good results.

We are not just our behavior. We are the person managing our behavior.

Help people to reach their full potential. Catch them doing something right.

Goals begin behaviors, consequences maintain them.

Also Read: 5 Best Books for Time Management

OK, those were all the top books on leadership I have for you. These are some of the most popular and best business leadership books in the world that can help you become an effective leader and manager.

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