I have recently retired from my more than full time job leading a mid-sized nonprofit organization. I know I will have a next act, but I haven’t exactly pinned down what that will look like yet. Retirement has given me much more time to reflect, to get organized in my personal space, to write more, and to read. It’s been fun.
I have always enjoyed reading management and personal development literature. (Don’t judge!) It has helped me become a better leader, learn to manage my time and relationships better, and explore new theories and ideas. The trouble has always been, though, that with a demanding professional life, I have not had enough time and head space to really delve into management writings like I would like to. There was no time at the office, and very little mental bandwidth left when I finally got home. Sound familiar?
As I reorganized my books within my home office, I began reading some texts and articles I never had time for and re-reading some of the management texts that have guided my work over the past thirty years. This is certainly a work in progress, but here is a list of some favorites I am rediscovering. (I’m linking to Goodreads.com in case you want to explore more because I am not inclined to recommend you purchase these books from one on-line retailer or another. In fact, your local independent bookseller can get them for you, or you can probably get them at your local library, even better.)
Love is the Killer App, by Tim Sanders – an oldie but goodie. This book, more than any other I have read taught me the value of being helpful, open, and supportive of others. It certainly re-energized my career and my relationships at work when I first read it, probably 15 years ago.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni. I wish this book was phrased more positively, but I guess the “dysfunctions” part sells more books. I turned the “dysfunctions” to “practices” in my mind, and derived great benefit from the message.
Good to Great, by Jim Collins – a classic. Good advice for becoming ‘great.’ Some of the example companies are no longer viable, but the message is still important.
How Did that Happen, by Roger Connors and Tom Smith. I originally read this when I was having to deal with some significant performance issues in my team. It really was helpful to learn how to hold people accountable. Another similar read, Radical Candor by Kim Malone Scott, is a must read for accountability, performance, and leadership.
The Leadership Challenge, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. Another classic, and is full of empirical research and best practices for values-based leadership.
There are many more books and articles on my “to read” list, but I think this is a pretty good start, don’t you?
What leadership books have you read that you would recommend to others?
(So you won’t think I am a total bore, I read plenty of fiction, too. Fine literature, best sellers, sappy love stories, mysteries, crime novels, I read them all. Maybe soon I’ll share some of my favorite novels and authors, too.)