Growing Leadership: 
Reading for Aspiring Leaders

Great leadership requires more than charisma. Leaders need to be creative thinkers, effective communicators, and strategic planners all at once. They need to exhibit courage, confidence, and ambition while also possessing the empathy required to tap the potential of others.

That’s a tall order, but you don’t have to be a born leader to be a great one. If you dream of being a leader in your community, these are the books to read to nurture the leader within you, courtesy of BreakEven Books.

Why Should You Build Leadership Skills?

There are ample reasons for developing your leadership abilities. Here are just a few reasons why this facet of self-improvement will pay dividends in your personal and professional lives:

  • You’ll grow your career. If you’re hoping to climb the ladder with your current company, showing your superiors that you have the ability to lead a team will give you a competitive edge when you go for your next promotion.
  • You’ll set a foundation to create your own business. Even with all of the challenges presented over the course of the last year due to the pandemic, many COVID-preneurs have decided to take the leap into starting their own company. This is in large part because these folks recognize the job market has forever changed, and job security isn’t what it used to be, making the idea of entrepreneurship more enticing. If you’ve ever considered starting a business, working on growing as a leader will give you the confidence to launch your venture.
  • You’ll enjoy benefits outside of work. Being a leader isn’t just useful in a job setting. Fast Company notes that you’ll have the ability to make more thoughtful decisions when it comes to your relationships, health, and other life choices. You’ll also improve your communication skills, especially when it comes to being a better listener, which will make you a better friend, parent, and partner to those you love.

On Building the Confidence to Lead

Do you fear you lack the charisma to be a strong leader? The truth is, traits like confidence, resilience, and communication are more important than charisma when it comes to leadership. These books offer aspiring leaders a toolkit for developing the skills they need.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy
  • Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins
  • The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

On Thinking Like a Leader

Managers set goals. Leaders, on the other hand, make room for innovation. Not only are leaders themselves creative thinkers, but the best leaders also foster an environment where people can think outside the box to come up with new solutions to old problems. These books teach leaders how to change the way they think to improve the way they lead.

  • Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time by Rosebeth Moss Kanter
  • Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

On Getting Things Done

Next, leaders are tasked with taking that creative vision and putting it to action. This is where organization and strategy come in — and where many leaders fall flat. To become more efficient and effective in your leadership role, add these books to your reading list.

  • Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
  • The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam

On Empowering Others

Of course, you can’t do it all yourself! The true strength of leadership is in the ability to inspire and mobilize others towards change. These books explain how to tap into people’s intrinsic motivations to unleash their full potential.

  • Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success by John Eades
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More, and Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungal Stanier
  • Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Whether you want to start a business, land a promotion, or run for office, leadership skills matter. Consider adding these books to your reading list and start cultivating the skills you need to make your goals a reality.

Find out more about this

Looking for other great book recommendations across all genres? Check out BreakEven Books! In addition to the great book reviews we offer on our website, we also have a Booktube channel that every bibliophile will love!

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I took some book quizzes for the first time and had a lot of fun with them. Join me and see what my results were and let me know what you thought in the comments below.
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