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We had a lot of fun creating this reading list of influential books for leaders for our amazing readers at Everyday Power Blog.
As I travel and speak to students at colleges and universities across the country, I’m often asked what the best books are for a young leader to read. I love answering this question, because it shows that the individual asking is hungry to learn and understands that there is wisdom from history that he or she can gain.
Years ago, I created a list of “Must-Reads” for established leaders. Today, I’m sharing what I consider great reads for emerging leaders. These influential books are not only beneficial to teens and twenty-somethings who aspire to become capable role models, they are also helpful to any young person beginning their career journey.
Must Read Books For Future Leaders
This is often the first book I recommend to a student who has begun their leadership journey. It’s a parable about a self-absorbed man who learns to get beyond himself. I love this book because it helps young people to see leadership as a selfless act, and to truly think of others first.
This classic by the late Stephen Covey covers seven key habits that successful people in any industry have chosen to embrace: priorities, decision making, goals, etc.
Although this book was written decades ago, it’s truly a classic. It covers timeless truths for engaging people and earning the right to be heard. I recommend it because it contains simple lessons in emotional intelligence. As research has proven, emotional intelligence and soft skills (rather than just a high GPA) are what people need to succeed in today’s world.
I believe leaders must understand their people before they lead them. This book helps young leaders understand how human motivation has changed over time: from carrots and sticks (rewards and punishment) to the longing for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
This is one of the most influential books every young leader should read due to the simple fact that most young adults are going to start their career under the leadership of others. Badowski talks about how to influence and lead when you’re not the “boss”. It’s about healthy relationships, trust, and value.
This book explains the concept of how we influence all those around us, and how people can still become influential without a lofty title or position. Today’s students and young professionals need to understand that leadership must be earned through positive influence.
This is a timely book on how to communicate effectively. Researchers say much of the next generation will need to work on this skill before entering the workforce, as technology has not helped them develop this muscle. It is researched-based and full of case studies on what makes communication memorable and life-changing.
One of the best influential books to help young leaders build characteristics and habits in life that don’t require talent. Ultimately, this should enable them to capitalize on their gifts. Very inspirational!
This book, written by the king of “strengths-based” leadership, focuses on the single most important element for successful life and leadership. I recommend it to emerging leaders because it simplifies the journey and offers applicable life examples.
At the risk of sounding self-serving, I also recommend “Habitudes®” to emerging leaders who desire to understand timeless principles of leadership via stories and images.
What other influential books do you recommend to fellow emerging leaders?
We would love to hear your ideas and comments.