3 Books to Become a Better Leader

I am a huge fan of leadership books and books around self-growth. It is no surprise that over the past year I have been reading up on leadership, habits, and communication. 

My favorite leadership books are digestible, fun to read, and actionable. I have compiled some of my favorite leadership books and highly recommend adding them to your list. 

 

Three Books Stacked on table with plant
For each book, I include why I love the book and pull out some of my key takeaways to help skim the leadership hacks. All concepts and quotes are credited to the respective author.
Book on Habits by Jen Sincero on table

 Badass Habits by Jen Sincero

I love Jen Sincero’s kick in the pants approach to motivation. While creating habits are not always the most exciting, we could not put this book down. Her wit, humor, and experience make this a very enjoyable read. In her book, Badass Habits, she breaks down why our habits do not stick and a 21-day guide to making a lasting habit. We put this model to the test in 2021 to build a habit around being active every day.

Our key takeaways:

  • “It only takes 21 days to build a habit”
  • “Latch your new habit to an existing one”
    • For example, if you already have a habit of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, add in a habit to after each cup of coffee drink a glass of water.
  • Commit to something in the future that will give you accountability and goal
    • For example, I wanted to become more active. My accountability goal was signing up for a half-marathon. This gives a not so graceful shove into developing a habit of running three times a week.
  • View your new habit as an extension of your lifestyle
    • For example, instead of saying “I have to run” think of yourself as a runner. Running is an extension of your identity and lifestyle.

If you are looking to build some new habits or kick some old ones, this book is a must read.

 

 Book on table with decor

 

 Burnout by Emily Nagoski, PhD and Ameilia Nagoski, DMA

Given the past two years, I would say we have all experienced some form of stress and burnout in our lives. Burnout is filled with insightful and enlightening information on societal pressures, lifestyle, and our relationship with stress. This book has transformed the way I think about burnout and stress.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Our current society perpetuates ongoing stress which can lead to burnout (emotional or physical)”
  • “We must complete the stress cycle” (this does not mean burying it)
    • Completing the stress cycle allows for the physiological impacts of stress to be released.
  • “The most effective way to complete the stress cycle is exercise” (surprise!)
  • Processing stress can help us live our most authentic and healthy life

 Each chapter comes with a bulleted summary to help you get the most out of it quickly.

 

Taking the War out of Words by Sharon Strand Ellison on table

 

Taking the War out of Our Words by Sharon Strand Ellison

This is one of the best books on communication I have ever read. The book focuses on “The art of powerful non-defensive communication." Sharon Strand Ellison likens our current type of communication as using war and violent tactics to control others. However, with the non-defensive model, it can allow us to be vulnerable, assertive, and allow our relationships to thrive. We love the way this book is structured by communication method and packed full of examples.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Non-defensive communication is not a means to control another person
  • The main forms of non-defensive communication are “questions, statements, and predictions”
    • Questions should gather more information and clarification, not accuse
    • Statements allow you to assert your position, thoughts, and interpretation without trying to control or persuade
    • Predictions allow you to set boundaries with others and giving them a choice. This is commonly done in an “If... then” where you state what will happen if they continue to do a certain behavior.
  • “Our tone, body language, and other means of non-verbal communication also must be non-defensive”

I highly recommend this book to help build more open, compassionate, and authentic relationships.

These are just a few of my favorite leadership books that have a made a substantial impact on my life. Reading the book is only half the work, implementing the learnings is an ongoing journey. 

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