15 Top Management Books to Make You a Better Leader | Book Riot (2022)

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Addison Rizer

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Whether it was through a group project in school, your first job, or someone in your family, we’ve all encountered leaders in our lives. Good ones are sure to inspire you, challenge you, and hold you to your highest potential. They’re strong communicators, or are charismatic, or have something intangible that makes you want to do everything they ask. You’ll remember good leaders forever. We all have stories of that English or Biology or Coding teacher who changed our lives.

On the other end is the not-so-great leaders who are sure to make your life awful. The micro-managers. The absent ones. The ones that demand respect without giving any in return. A bad leader can make you dread going to work or school. They can send otherwise great workers running for the hills. They’re the ones who make it clear that leadership is a skill to be worked on rather than an inherent talent.

Luckily for us all, there are many books to help us in our journey to be better leaders. Even if you’re not in a management role, leadership skills can help in your relationships, friendships, family, and even your perception of yourself. We all can benefit from these top management books.

Top Management Books

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Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

If you’re the leader of a team, this is a must read to break down our biases and make our leadership more inclusive. Through stories from small neighborhoods or large institutions, Dr. Ebergardt presents the psychology behind the prejudices we hold and ways to work through them in a way that’s easy to understand.

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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

There’s a difference between what you do and why you do it. Sinek says to start with the why. Or, as has been repeated over and over, to follow your passion. That’s where the difference between success and failure comes from. Where good leaders become great ones. And where followers are sure to get inspired. To find your passion, start here.

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

The carrot-and-stick punishment-reward leadership style of years ago is, to Pink, not nearly as successful as everyone thinks it is. Instead, leaders should cater to employee’s inherent drive through autonomy, passion, and control. They should let them create their own goals, follow what interests them, and appeal to their sense of accomplishment. Positive results are sure to follow.

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The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

This manual of leadership is a must-read for current and future managers. Through extensive examples, Kouzes and Posner present practices and traits of exemplary leadership in the current workplace. You’re sure to walk away with practical next steps to develop your leadership skills and make your employees shine.

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Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

What makes successful people, well, successful? Gladwell explores exactly that by delving into backgrounds, upbringing, and timings of those the best in their fields. It’s important for managers to think about the factors that go into what makes a person successful, both those in their control and out. This book will teach you just that.

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#Values: The Secret to Top Level Performance in Business and Life by Dr. Betty Uribe

We all know what values are. Some people value money, others community. But, do you know how to identify what yours are? Or, how to develop them to better support your life, career, and company? Dr. Uribe, through many interviews with leaders in various areas of the world and her own stories from her life, lays it out for you. You’ll walk away with a much clearer list of your core values and a deeper understanding of yourself.

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Multipliers, Revised and Updated: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

Some leaders, for no obvious reason, inspire employees. They make ideas happen. They motivate their people to deliver above and beyond. These leaders are the multipliers. Wiseman explores these types of leaders. What makes them and how we can be them too. These types of leaders are not born this way, but develop through practice and skills. May we all be multipliers.

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First, Break All the Rules: What the world’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

This one delves into the importance of the front-line manager. Those who can recognize what talents their employees have and help them build upon their unique strengths to get their teams to thrive. Through studies of supervisors, major companies, and small-level managers, this book explores how leaders can break rules to get the best out of their people.

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Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

We all know the stereotype of managers, right? The demanding, closed-off, shadowy figure looming over the entire office? Well, this book argues against that. It declares that managers don’t have to lose their kindness and compassion. In fact, these traits make them excellent leaders who challenge their followers, help them grow, and care about them all at the same time.

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Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust by Edgar Schein and Peter Schein

Say goodbye to the top-down, unavailable leaders of the past and say hello to a new kind of leadership based on empathy and vulnerability in one of the top management books. Leaders who make their followers feel safe and valued will get more creativity, more development, and more results from those beneath them. This is one of the top management books for working on your humility and empathy.

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The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers by Gillian Tett

Okay, we’ve all wondered why on Earth some of our coworkers or followers act the way they do. Especially when it makes no sense. Tett explores our tendency to be blind, sometimes, in the workplace and to explain the psychology behind why. We can get stuck, sometimes, inside boxes of all kinds. Tett encourages us to think outside of these in order to thrive.

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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Through the stories of spelling bee competitors, new teachers, and West Point cadets, Duckworth teaches us about grit. In a world where you can look around and see others doing what you want seemingly effortlessly, this book makes a case for effort over easiness. For drive and passion and sweat. While things may not come naturally to you, what you continue to put time into will pay off. You just have to keep trying.

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Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton

The first step to being a good leader is to know what your strengths are. But, sometimes, self reflection is difficult. Buckingham and Dr. Clifton show people how to discover their talent and see the strengths of those beneath them. The Strengths Finder Profile will help you discover what those are and how they’ll benefit your ability to lead. You can only improve if you know your baseline.

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Diversity in the Workplace: Eye-Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations about Identity, Privilege, and Bias by Bärí A. Williams

Through interviews with people inside our workplaces, Williams shows us all the importance of creating an inclusive workplace in the modern world. The interviewees from various gender, racial, and religious backgrounds are given space to speak freely about what it’s like to work today, so we all can learn how to better lead everyone.

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Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed

The leader of her company, Student Maid, Kristen Hadeed tells readers about the development of the company and the mistakes she made along the way. Just like everyone else, leaders aren’t perfect. And we should stop expecting them to be. Hadeed instead tells us to embrace the ways we fall short and how we can learn to be better from them. She gives us all permission to screw up in one of the top management books for new leaders.

Liked these top management books? Try these top leadership books for more! Or, maybe you want to work on yourself more? Try these books to inspire confidence to do just that!

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FAQs

What is the best book to be a good manager? ›

9 Books Every Manager Should Read
  • How To Win Friends and Influence People.
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
  • The Art of War.
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Good to Great.
  • Leadership.
  • The One Minute Manager.
  • The Effective Executive.

How can I be a better leader book? ›

The 25 Best Leadership Books of All-Time
  1. The First 90 Days.
  2. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
  3. Start with Why.
  4. The Leadership Challenge.
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  6. How to Win Friends & Influence People.
  7. Execution.
  8. Good to Great.
17 Jun 2022

Are leadership books useful? ›

As difficult as it may be to step away from the office, reading a variety of books on leadership is an important key to refueling and refocusing yourself as a leader. For instance, it helps reveal your strengths, weaknesses, and provide the tools needed for innovation and growth.

What are the top 7 keys to successful leadership? ›

7 Keys to Becoming a Super Effective Leader
  1. Don't take It all too seriously. Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. ...
  2. Recognize achievements. Every employee wants to do a good job. ...
  3. Set goals. ...
  4. Delegate wisely. ...
  5. Think about lasting solutions. ...
  6. Make time for employees. ...
  7. Communicate.
29 Jan 2018

What are the 3 skills needed by a manager? ›

Robert Katz identifies three types of skills that are essential for a successful management process: Technical skills. Conceptual skills. Human or interpersonal management skills.

What are the 4 skills managers need? ›

The following are 6 essential skills that managers need to have in order to manage employees effectively and efficiently to get the best from them.
  • Good communication. ...
  • Good Organisation. ...
  • Team Building. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Ability to Deal with Changes Effectively. ...
  • Domain Knowledge.

What are the six qualities of a good manager? ›

Characteristics of an Effective Manager
  • Leadership.
  • Experience.
  • Communication.
  • Knowledge.
  • Organization.
  • Time management.
  • Delegation.
  • Confidence.

What are the 3 most important values as a leader? ›

Core values of a leader make for great leadership

Vision. Communication. Reinforcement and influence. Empathy.

What are the 7 importance of leadership? ›

A leader must be able to motivate their team. A team that is easily motivated will overcome obstacles to achieve goals. A good leader will understand the different needs of each team member and knows ways to satisfy them. By creating a great environment, it will support and encourage team members.

What are the 3 important keys for an effective leader? ›

Three key qualities of an effective leader
  • Strong Character. Leaders with strong character earn the respect of their peers. ...
  • Committed, Swift Decision Making. ...
  • Available When You Need Them. ...
  • Additional Resources.

What is the best leadership quote? ›

100 Best Quotes On Leadership
  • A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. — ...
  • Where there is no vision, the people perish. — ...
  • I must follow the people. ...
  • You manage things; you lead people. —
16 Oct 2012

What is the most important lesson of leadership? ›

One of the best and most frequently recommended leadership lessons is to talk less and listen more. A good leader knows when it's time to step back and listen to what team members and employees are trying to say, and take those opinions into consideration when making decisions.

What are the 4 C's of leadership? ›

A long time ago, I was inculcated with leadership principles called the “4 C's” -- competency, commitment, courage, and candor --which I still argue are the right basic leader values from initial leadership roles to senior positions of authority.

What are the 7 core skills of a leader? ›

7 Essential Qualities of a Leader
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Strong Ethics and Standards. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Expresses Expectations. ...
  • Nurtures Growth. ...
  • Flexible to Change. ...
  • Creates Feeling of Togetherness.
3 Jul 2017

What are the 7 elements of leadership? ›

7 Essential Elements to Successful Leadership
  • Transparency. When a leader is transparent, they are challenged less by those they oversee. ...
  • Learn from Failure. Experiencing failure has the power to shape a leader. ...
  • Trust. One of the core principles of leadership is trust. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Humility. ...
  • Creativity.

What are the five 5 fundamentals of leadership? ›

What are the fundamentals of leadership?
  • Communication. Leaders would be hard-pressed to accomplish anything worthwhile without an effective way to communicate across the entire organization. ...
  • Visionary and strategic thinking. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Self-awareness.
9 Dec 2021

What are the most important leadership skills heading into 2022? ›

List of leadership skills
  1. Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence is one of the most important leadership soft skills. ...
  2. Relationship Building. Relationship building is one of the most essential traits of good leaders. ...
  3. Problem Solving. ...
  4. Decision Making. ...
  5. Persuasion. ...
  6. Coaching. ...
  7. Compromise. ...
  8. Delegation.
9 Oct 2022

What are 3 keys to success? ›

'” There they are. Three Keys for Career Success: communication, confidence, and character.

What makes a successful manager? ›

Managers become great communicators by being good listeners. They allow time for others to speak. They have a clear understanding of the organization's vision and share it with the people in their team in a way that motivates them. They keep their team up-to-date on what's happening in the organization.

What is your style as a leader? ›

Your leadership style refers to the method you adopt to guide, monitor, and motivate your team. Some leaders use more than one leadership style. You should know how to use various leadership styles to suit your goals at a certain time.

What are the 5 basic functions of management? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling.

What are the six responsibilities of a manager? ›

But their priority is avoiding that kind of situation. And they do that by focusing on the six key tasks that constitute the foundations of every general manager's job: shaping the work environment, setting strategy, allocating resources, developing managers, building the organization, and overseeing operations.

What are the 4 main values? ›

Keywords
  • Values.
  • Virtues.
  • Fairness.
  • Respect.
  • Care.
  • Honesty.
29 May 2019

What motivates you to be a leader? ›

Motivated leaders are driven to achieve beyond expectations – their own and everyone else's. The key word here is achieve. Plenty of people are motivated by external factors, such as a big salary or the status that comes from having an impressive title or being part of a prestigious company.

What are the five core values? ›

Five Core Values
  • INTEGRITY. Know and do what is right. Learn more.
  • RESPECT. Treating others the way you want to be treated. Learn more.
  • RESPONSIBILITY. Embrace opportunities to contribute. Learn more.
  • SPORTSMANSHIP. Bring your best to all competition. Learn more.
  • SERVANT LEADERSHIP. Serve the common good. Learn more.

What are 7 characteristics of a good leader? ›

7 Qualities of a Good Leader
  • You Are Focused. ...
  • You Are Mindful. ...
  • You Are Deliberate. ...
  • You Are Consistent. ...
  • You Are Strategic. ...
  • You Are Willing to Admit When You Are Wrong. ...
  • You Are Teachable.
26 May 2021

What are the six points of leadership power? ›

French and Raven's Forms of Power describes six sources of leadership power: Coercive, Reward, Legitimate, Expert, Referent and Informational. Each form of power, when used to influence someone, has a different impact on relationships and outcomes, some better than others.

What are the 3 C's of leadership? ›

The next time you are leading your team, focus on your mindset and decide to be a three-C leader: competent, committed and with strong character. When we do that, our employees win, and when they win, we all win.

What are the 3 rules of leadership? ›

The 3 Essential Rules for Being a Great Leader
  • Reduce ambiguity.
  • Be fair.
  • Stay positive.
  • The takeaway.
30 Jul 2018

What are the 3 C's of Effective changed leadership? ›

Conclusion. Typically, people fear change, so they must understand its context and process. Neglecting these steps in organizational change management may cause the plan to fail. Consider the 3Cs— communication, capability, connection, and culture if you want it to succeed.

Who is a true leader? ›

A true leader makes an effort to help develop their team's skills so they can reach their full potential. They lead by example and establish strong, trusting relationships to ensure success within the team and for the organization as a whole.

What are 4 characteristics of a good leader? ›

Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present.

Are leaders born or made? ›

For decades, people have been trying to figure out whether great leaders are born with innate leadership skills or if you can develop people into leaders. Recent scientific studies suggest that leadership is 30% genetic and 70% learned. These findings propose that leaders are made not born.

Which is the most powerful motivational quote? ›

15 Powerful Quotes On Success
  • 1) Success is No Accident. ...
  • 2) Success is Not Final, Failure is Not Fatal: it is the Courage to Continue that Counts. ...
  • 3) Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count. ...
  • 4) He Who is Not Courageous Enough to Take Risks Will Accomplish Nothing in Life. ...
  • 5) Don't Wait for Opportunity, Create it.
20 Feb 2019

What are 10 motivational quotes? ›

100 Inspirational Quotes
  • "When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go." ...
  • "Nothing is impossible. ...
  • "There is nothing impossible to they who will try." ...
  • "The bad news is time flies. ...
  • "Life has got all those twists and turns. ...
  • "Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you."
13 Oct 2022

What does Elon Musk say about leadership? ›

“I don't create companies for the sake of creating companies, but to get things done.” Elon Musk's leadership style, transformational leadership, focuses on creating real positive change in the world. This type of leader is action-oriented.

What are the most important keys in leadership? ›

Below, we've highlighted the 5 most important qualities that define effective leadership.
  1. Ability to delegate tasks. Often, leaders are perfectionists: they have a particular vision and they want to drive their staff, and their company, to reach that vision. ...
  2. Excellent communication. ...
  3. Confidence. ...
  4. Honesty. ...
  5. Creativity.
27 Jul 2016

What is the true purpose of leadership? ›

The Meaning of True Leadership

Leadership is about developing people and helping others reach their full potential. It's about equipping others with the right tools and strategies not only to maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals.

Who is the best leadership author in the world? ›

A staple in any list of the best books on leadership, Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been read by millions of people worldwide. First published in 1989, Covey's book's timeless insights cover proactivity, time management, and how to take the lead on what's within your control.

What are the six pillars of leadership? ›

The Character of Leadership is a study in the six pillars comprising a leader's character: integrity, humility, responsibility, purity, charity and spirituality.

What are the 7 levers of leadership? ›

This chapter explores the seven levers of leadership: data-driven instruction, instructional planning, observation and feedback, professional development, student culture, staff culture and managing school leadership teams.

What are 3 keys to self esteem? ›

3 Tips to increase your self-esteem
  • Learn that you are kind.
  • You must strive to increase your self-esteem.
  • Try to understand those who take away your courage.
26 Mar 2021

What are the 3 major things to boost your self esteem? ›

Here are some other simple techniques that may help you feel better about yourself.
  • Recognise what you're good at. We're all good at something, whether it's cooking, singing, doing puzzles or being a friend. ...
  • Build positive relationships. ...
  • Be kind to yourself. ...
  • Learn to be assertive. ...
  • Start saying "no" ...
  • Give yourself a challenge.

What is the best book to stay motivated? ›

Top 10 Motivational Books of All Time
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. ...
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People. ...
  • Think and Grow Rich. ...
  • Awaken the Giant Within. ...
  • As a Man Thinketh. ...
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World. ...
  • Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. ...
  • Drive.
22 Mar 2013

What are the 8 essentials in leadership? ›

I've distilled my conversation with Wang to eight of the most essential qualities that make a great leader.
  • Sincere enthusiasm. True enthusiasm for a business, its products, and its mission cannot be faked. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Great communication skills. ...
  • Loyalty. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Managerial competence. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Charisma.
8 Feb 2018

Who is the No 1 leader in history? ›

1. Mahatma Gandhi. The founding father of nonviolent protest and a staunch pursuer of peace, Mahatma Gandhi embodied a complex leadership style, espousing many of the principles of intelligent leadership.

Who is the most inspiring leader of all time? ›

1. Mahatma Gandhi – The Anti-War Activist With A Global Legacy. Mahatma Gandhi left his mark on the world in more ways than one.

What is the most popular leadership style in today's world? ›

Democratic. Democratic leadership is one of the most popular leadership styles because it involves input from the entire team and fosters employees' sense of ownership in their work.

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