Best Books For New Managers and Leaders

An interesting question was posed on Linked In recently – If you were in HR what 4 books would you have in your library that you would recommend to all new people managers?  I work mainly with senior leaders who’ve been managers for a while, and so aren’t new managers, however these four books immediately came to my mind as suitable for both new and experienced managers. So I thought I’d share them here:

1) “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. One of the best, most accessible, sense-making and simple yet profound books on management. It’s written in a “leadership fable” style, and it’s a real page turner; rare for a management book! Everyone I have given it to (which is actually nearly every executive coaching client I have worked with in the past few years since it came out) has identified with the story and really used the learnings from it.

2) “The Personality of the Organisation” by Lionel F. Stapley. It’s not often one thinks about the need for managers to have an understanding of the unconscious life of an organisation but once they read this it makes their job so much easier! Drawing on basic psychodynamic theories, it explains in layperson’s terms many mysteries such as why change can fail, what culture is and how it can be created. Equipping managers with an understanding of how groups work at the deeper levels with books like this is one of the best services you can do for them.

3) “Time to Think” by Nancy Kline. One of the skills most employees say their manager lacks is listening. It’s not just for managers but I think all managers would benefit from reading it. I believe that a manager’s job is to help people to think well for themselves, so that people can grow – and they achive that by being listened to and coming up with their own answers. This book takes the idea of listening to a new level. “Listening to Ignite the Human Mind” is its subtitle. And it does!

4) “More Time to Think” by Nancy Kline. Nancy explains more about the generative nature of attention and how it can transform lives, personal and professional. A must read if you’ve read Time to Think and are ready for more of this wonderful stuff.

I hope this has inspired you to look these up and get reading.