Leaders are successful because their teams are. If for no other reason than to want that success, you must figure out how to inspire your team members to achieve your organization’s goals.

You have probably undergone lots of leadership and management training, either in school or through professional development. And you are probably tired of reading literature about leadership.

But here’s a list of seven leadership books that are a bit “off the beaten path” that will have you engaged, are practical, and will motivate you to perhaps try some new methods for inspiring your people:

1. The New One-Minute Manager

This is a modern classic, now revised. A small book full of “jewels of wisdom” that shows how getting people to do what you want is really not all that difficult.

You’ll learn three “secrets” about leadership. It’s written in parable form for easy, enjoyable reading.

The New One Minute Manager

2. Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

Here’s another parable. But it’s one based upon an actual fish market in Seattle, WA.

If a leader of employees in one of the messiest of industries (they get up before dawn, gut and clean fish, and then move into the front to serve customers) can inspire enthusiasm, motivation, and productivity, then you can as well by taking these lessons to heart.

Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

3. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Remember as a child you always asked “why” when your parents told you to do something? This book hones in on making certain your team understands why they are being asked what to do. Learn the principle of “The Golden Circle.”

Access Sinek’s Ted Talk and your leadership style will never be the same again.

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

This is a book of case studies on great leadership – the kind that makes organizations successful. What Collins does is isolate those common leadership qualities that inspire employees to do great things.

This is an easy read. And the case studies show how mediocre companies become hugely successful through these common leadership behaviors.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

5. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

Do you suffer from “confirmation bias?” Everything is confirmed by an unconscious devotion to pre conceived notions.

Related:  Servant Leadership - Whole Person Inventory

Once a leader is able to “get outside of that box, they can understand their real motivations and how they are sabotaging both team and personal performance.

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

6. The No-Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

Here’s a primer and guide for dealing with bullying and other bad behaviors by team members. Leaders often tolerate such behavior if the team member is high-performing.

But they always impact the morale of others, and a lack of motivation and inspiration eventually impact productivity.

This great little book offers two options – dump the person or change their behaviors – and provides perfect guidelines for doing either one.

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

7. Crazy Bosses

This book is for pure entertainment, and you will love it. It is comprised of scenarios of the worst bosses ever, told through the eyes of Bing, who has experienced them all – the wimp, the paranoid, the bully, and the “disaster hunter.”

You will be grateful that you are not as bad as these horrific leaders, but you may find a bit of yourself in some of them.

Crazy Bosses

This is by no means an exhaustive list of great books on leadership.

But it provides a good variety of those that will be the most enjoyable reads while imparting a great deal of wisdom, the kind that is not always learned in formal training.

Which Leadership Books Would You Recommend?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Would you like to 
contribute a post?

Lori Jones
Lori Jones is a writer and consultant. In addition to assisting with client speech writing needs at WowGrade, she is a frequent contributor to Studyton's blog and a presenter at workshops on leadership and communication.
>