The 33 Best Leadership Books You Haven’t Heard Of

The 33 Best Leadership Books You Haven’t Heard Of

We all succeed on the backs of others. They teach, model, and lead. Their words and work help us navigate what we didn’t expect, value what works for us, and draw a personal career path. We can’t read our way into the future, but the winners do have something to say, something to shape our character, and something to confirm our values. Leaders-in-the-making should read regularly.

The internet has made leadership scholarship readily accessible in Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company, Medium, and many other channels. But, for those who want a library of best leadership books, this library of the best books on leadership you will enjoy and treasure. I have listed them alphabetically by the authors’ last names.

Forgive my boasting, however, my friends below are all brilliant, and they need not be ranked. Stay tuned for future lists as well.

1) Grace: A Leader’s Guide to a Better Us By John Baldoni

Image of A leader's guide to a better us by John Baldoni leadership book.

John’s insights are genuine, and his heart is pure. When you read his book, you will see his true intentions and purpose-driven life shine through.

A Global Gurus Top 30 Leadership Expert listed among Inc.’s Top 50 Leadership Experts and Top 100 Leadership Speakers, John has authored 14 books on organizational leadership. A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Michigan, John advocates leading upwards and modeling leadership behaviors,

If you are familiar with his Moxie (2014) or Lead Your Boss (2009), you’ll find a different read in Grace (2019). It blends stories of individual heroes with those of noted thought leaders. It recommends using the gift of spiritual grace to make positive changes bettering yourself and those around you. Grace becomes the currency of empowering relationships built on respect, empathy, and compassion. The book is a guide to leading with Generosity, Respect, Action, Compassion, and Energy.

Publisher- Indigo River Publishing

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2) Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future By Ayse Birsel


Image of Design the Life You Love By Ayse Birsel leadership book.

Ayse will surprise you. Her humility with such rich experiences is more than evident. She is foremost a designer with work in the permanent collections at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and MOMA. Ayse holds several awards in design including the IDEA Gold Award, ID Magazine Excellence Award, and Athena Award for Excellence in Furniture Design from RISD. But she’s also one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative Minds in Business.

Design the Life You Love is a sketchy (full pun intended) graphic book of lessons and aphorisms about drawing a picture of the world you want to be. Light and joyful graphics encourage you to use pencil and paper to deconstruct and reconstruct the realities surrounding you with a holistic, collaborative, and empathetic mind. It’s just fun to follow her process rapidly through its 265 pages. (You won’t enjoy the same experience with a digital reader.)

Publisher-Ten Speed Press.

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3) Leading With Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, And Inspire Action On Your Most Important Work By Peter Bregman


Image of Leading With Emotional Courage by Peter Bregman Leadership book.

A graduate of Princeton with an MBA from Columbia Business School, Peter is a prolific writer, speaker, and coach with top-shelf corporations. His work online and on-ground demonstrates the deep understanding of organizations and people that drives his passion for bringing their interests together.

Peter’s 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done (2012) remains a bestseller, but this year’s Leading with Emotional Courage (2019) emphasizes our need to develop the emotional courage necessary to build the courage to act. Leading with Emotional Courage is a practical, how-to guide to closing the gap between leadership theory and behavior. In chapters no longer than Bregman’s podcasts, the book offers practical steps to build skills.

Publisher- John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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4)The Charisma Edge: A How-to Guide For Turning On Your Leadership Power By Cynthia Burham.


Picture of The Charisma Edge book on leadership by Cynthia Burham.

With years of acclaim and experience as an executive and leadership development coach, Cynthia has specialized in bringing her own charisma to the field of leadership development.  With degrees from UC Santa Barbara and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Cynthia teaches the secret to become charismatic is to feel, act, and look like you are.

The Charisma Edge (2011) offers nine basic areas readers can develop to embolden their executive presence and make a compelling and powerful connection with those around you. It’s partly about bearing and dress, but it also means developing comfortable gestures, handshakes, voice, and other exercises perceived as charismatic.

Publisher- CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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5) Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future By Dorie Clark.


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Thinkers50 named Dorie among its Top 50 Business Thinkers in the World, and the Marshall Goldsmith Coaching Leading Global Coaches Awards listed her #1 Communication Coach in the World. A graduate of Smith College and Harvard Divinity School, Dorie is on the graduate business school faculties art Columbia and Duke.

Author of Stand-out (2015) and Entrepreneurial You (2017), Dorie published Reinventing You (2013) now available with a new preface (2017). This step-by-step guide leads to thinking big about your career goals with a focus on your unique strengths. Reinventing You is a master class in self-branding to actualize your positive future.

Publisher – Penguin Publishing.

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6) The High Potential’s Advantage: Get Noticed, Impress Your Bosses, and Become a Top Leader By Jay A. Conger.


Image of The High Potential's Advantage leadership book by Jay A Conger.

Jay is foremost a teacher — the Henry Kravis Chaired Professor of Leadership Studies at Claremont McKenna College and the director of board relations and a member of the Kravis Leadership Institute. He holds a Master’s degree from Virginia University and his doctorate from Harvard Business School. And, he has served as a professor on the faculty at the London Business School, USC, and McGill.

Working together on The High Potential’s Advantage (2018), they have identified five X-factors that identify high potential talents: situation sensing, talent accelerating, career piloting, complexity translating, and catalytic learning. You’ll need to read more to “get noticed, impress your bosses, and become a top leader.”

Publisher – Harvard Business Review Press.

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7)  Lee’s 3 Habits: A Handbook for Stronger Relationships and Greater Happiness By Paul L. Corona.


Image of Lee's 3 Habits book on leadership by Paul L Corona

A graduate of Michigan State University, Paul has an MBA from The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and a doctorate from Indiana State University: Bloomington. A Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Coach, Paul has taught at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management since 2014.

Lee’s 3 Habits (2019) is a short book cleverly illustrated by Eddie Rosas is supplemented by a video and workshop. His habits of work on some assumptions: (1) True happiness if not about fame and fortune; (2) Good relationships keep us happier, healthier, and living longer; and (3) Good relationships take hard work. To make this work, you should ask, listen, and give.

Publisher –

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8) Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence By Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole A. Jon.


Image of Get Big Things Done by Erica Dhawan and Saj-Nicole A Jon Leadership book

Erica boasts graduate degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, MIT Sloan School of Management, and The Wharton School. In 2016, she was listed on the Thinkers50 list for the emerging management thinkers around the world likely to shape the future of business, management, and strategy and named as the “Oprah of Management Ideas.” A world-renowned speaker and writer, she is an expert on collaboration and connected intelligence.

Saj-nicole Joni, Ph.D., is a business strategist and confidential advisor to CEOs working with top leaders to solve their hardest strategic challenges, delivering results needed now, and creating far-reaching future impact. A global keynote speaker, Dr. Joni is the author of several books.

Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence (2015) fittingly joins these leading authorities to offer lessons in how the great leaders cultivate new sources of talent and inspiration to enable and sustain change. Their approach avoids case studies to favor readable and relevant stories.

Publisher- St. Martin’s Press.

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9) The Best Team Wins: The New Science of High Performance By Chester Elton.


Picture of The Best Team Wins best book on leadership by Chester Elton

Chester is coauthor of The Best Team Wins, The Carrot Principle, and All In, a popular lecturer, and an influential voice in global workplace trends.

In the leadership book, The Best Teams Wins, Chester Elton offers practical ways to address the real challenges today’s managers are facing, such as the rise of the Millennials, the increasing speed of change, the growing number of global and virtual teams, and the friction created by working cross-functionally.

Publisher- Simon and Schuster.

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10) Insight:The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think By Tasha Eurich.


Image of Insight Leadership book by Tasha Eurich.

With a Phi Beta Kappa key and Magna Cum Laude experience at Middlebury College, Tasha pursued her MS and Ph.D. at Colorado State University. In 2019, she ranked among the top 30 emerging management thinkers and Thinkers50 top 50 in leadership coaching. And, in 2017, she was chosen as one of Marshall Goldsmith Top 100 Coaches.

Insight (2018) develops Dr. Eurich’s long-term focus on self-awareness. She contends individuals don’t understand how others perceive them, let alone recognize themselves as clearly as they should. The book explores the science behind understanding that self-awareness is a skill you can develop into high performance, smart choices, and long-lasting relationships.

Publisher- Currency.

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11) Aligned: Connecting Your True Self with the Leader You’re Meant to Be By Hortense Le Gentil.


Picture of Aligned by Hortense Le Gentil Book on Leadership.

Hortense is a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Coach, Executive Coach at Harvard Business School, and a member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches. She coachers and supports C-suite executives to align their values and performance.

In Aligned (2019), Le Gentil contends alignment is “the congruence of who you are and what you think, feel, and love on a fundamental level with what you do, say and envision for your future. It’s about becoming more of yourself—and transcending the limits you once thought were holding you back.”

Publisher- Page Two.

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12) Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results By Judith E. Glaser.


Image of books on Leadership Conversational Intelligence by Judith E Glaser.

A well-known consultant, speaker, and author, Judith E. Glaser earned degrees at Temple University and Drexel University. She was named as one of Leadership Excellence’s Top 20 Thought Leaders of Leadership and Culture (2012). Judith has lectured at the Wharton School and Harvard Business School.

Conversational Intelligence (2016) makes the case for understanding how conversation stimulates the brain. She recommends learning what conversations promote empathy, integrity, and trust. In her words, “Conversational Intelligence gives us the power to express our inner thoughts and feelings to one another in ways that can strengthen relationships and success.”

Publisher- Routledge Press.

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13) Coaching for Leadership: Writings on Leadership from the World’s Greatest Coaches By Marshall Goldsmith, Laurence S. Lyons, and Sarah McArthur.


Picture of Coaching for Leadership book by Michael Goldsmith, Laurence S Lyons and Sarah McArthur.

The backgrounds on Marshall Goldsmith and Sarak McArthur were presented earlier.

Laurence S. Lyons holds a Ph.D. in organizational analysis and an MSc in management from Brunel University. He is an associate faculty at Henley Management College, Oxfordshire, England, where he is Director of Research of the Future Work Forum. Dr. Lyons is a member of the Peter F. Drucker Thought Leaders’ Forum and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches WABC.

This third edition of Coaching for Leadership (2012) is a monumental work showing how high-potential coaches should become “discriminating eclectics” with a talent to select and weave the best threads and disciplines into a working fabric. This is a book to save for constant referral.

Publisher – Pfeiffer.

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14) Restore Yourself: The Antidote for Professional Exhaustion By Edy Greenblatt.


Image of Leadership book Restore Yourself by Edy Greenblatt.

Edy Greenblatt’s Harvard doctoral dissertation “helped define what employees in 24/7 workplaces need to remain productive, satisfied and resilient generated theories, interventions and best practices on resilience, work/life balance, emotional labor, total institutions, workforce needs and motivation in all-inclusive vacation villages.” One of the Marshall Goldsmith #100 Coaches, Dr. Greenblatt is a transformational coach-educator, resilience pioneer, integration visionary, and entrepreneur.

Restore Yourself: The Antidote for Professional Exhaustion (2009) was the winner of the 2009 Indie Book Award for Best Careers Book, and declared a top 10 Business and Health & Wellness Book of the Year. Edy contends “If you know how to successfully increase your personal resources [physical, cognitive, and psychological energies] and then do so, you will have more available energy to mobilize in the service of those things more important to you.”

Publisher- Execu-Care Books.

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15) How To Develop the Authentic Leader in You®: Integrating the 7 Dimensions of Leadership Intelligence® By Nicole M Heimann.


Picture of How To Develop the Authentic Leader in You Leadership book by Nicole M Heimann.

Nicole M. Heimann is the biographer for the documentary on Marshall Goldsmith and holds multiple accomplishments as a Certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Team Coach.

How To Develop the Authentic Leader in You® (2018) recommends finding a personal authentic location from which you can integrate seven dimensions of leadership intelligence. Ms. Heimann writes, “Wisdom is the part of you that integrates the many different dimensions that make you who you are, so that a holistic view can emerge.”

Publisher – Books on Demand.

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16) How Women Rise: By Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith.


Image of Leadership book How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith.

Sally Hegelsen, a Hunter College alum, is the world’s leading consultant and speaker helping women reach their potential. She knows the unique gifts can and do contribute. With Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, she has drawn on respective experiences and insights to examine 12 habits common that undercut the quest for career potential and success.

Acknowledging women face more barriers than men, How Women Rise (2018) examines the negative habits that only complicate their progress. But it ends with several positive chapters on how to rise, suggesting, for instance, that you can’t always count on behaviors that worked earlier.

PublisherHachette Books.

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17) Work is Love  Made Visible: A Collection of Essays About the Power of Finding Your Purpose From the World’s Greatest Thought Leaders By Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Sarah McArthur.


Image of Work is Love Made Visible Book on Leadership by Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Sarah McArthur.

Frances Hesselbein has received the U.S. Medal of Freedom, over 30 honorary degrees, and is listed among Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. She has always led with a “mission-focused, values-based, and demographics-driven” effort.

Marshall Goldsmith remains a leading world authority on leadership change behavior. Harvard’s Institute of Coaching honored him with its first Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Goldsmith is a two-time winner of Thinkers50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World, the Word’s #1 Executive Coach, and Top Ten Business Thinkers. The author of 35+ books, he is a fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources and winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Teaching Award from the Institute for Management Studies.

Sarah McArthur is a writer, editor, and coach. As a publishing leader, she has written or co-authored countless books and auditors, often with the top thought leaders in the field. Sarah is COO of Marshall Goldsmith, Inc. where she has changed the quality of leadership publishing over two decades following a B.A. from the University of Oregon and Masters in Publishing from George Washington University.

These three masterful thought leaders have put together a collection of 31 essays by prominent thinkers in Work is Love Made Visible (2018). Frances Hesselbein introduced Marshall Goldsmith and Sarah McArthur to Peter F. Drucker’s lesson: “I don’t predict. I just look out the window and see what’s visible not yet seen.” The challenge has no answer, of course, but it remains an incomparable thought provoker.

Publisher – John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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18) American Icon: Alan Mullaly and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company By Bryce G. Hoffman.


Picture of Books on Leadership American Icon by Bryce G Hoffman.

Bryce G. Hoffman was educated at the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies, California State University: East Bay, and San Francisco State University. A licensed Red Team leader, Bryce is a leading lecturer and author.

American Icon: Alan Mullaly and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company (2012) is the only book in this library focused on a single business leader. Hoffman brings an insider’s perspective to Mullaly’s success in turning around both Boeing and Ford. He would rebuild, restructure, and reinvent Ford despite resistance from employees, markets, and organizational fiefdoms to save Ford following in the midst of The Great Recession.

Publisher – Crown Business Press.

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19) Disrupt Yourself, With a New Introduction: Master Relentless Change and Speed Up Your Learning Curve by Whitney Johnson.


Image of leadership book Disrupt Yourself, With a New Introduction by Whitney Johnson.

Whitney Johnson is an expert on helping high potential organizations develop high potential individuals. Ranked among Thinkers50 finalists in Leadership, #1 Talent Coach, #3 on the Global Gurus’ list of Top 30 Organizational Culture Professionals in 2018, she holds even more honors. Johnson was an Institutional Investor–ranked equity research analyst for eight consecutive years, rated by Starmine as a superior stock-picker. And, she is an acclaimed, much-in-demand writer and speaker on issues of disruption.

In Disrupt Yourself (2019), a fresh look at her 2015 edition, Ms. Johnson makes her case. That is, “The whole point of disruption is to move up the y-axis over the x-axis of time. When you disrupt yourself, you are making a conscious decision to leave a comfortable spot and move down the y-axis, on the premise that the slope of your next curve will be even steeper, leading to another period of rapid growth and success.”

Publisher- Harvard Business Review Press.

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20) Physician Leadership: The Rx For Healthcare Transformation By Mo Kasti.


Picture of Physician Leadership by Mo Kasti book on Leadership.

Mo Kasti’s profile makes a point of saying he is a husband, father, and average soccer player — a refreshing dash of modesty in a man so accomplished. Educated in engineering at the University of Beirut and in hospital administration at Western Case University, he ventures repeatedly into the leadership challenges among the culture informed by physicians.

Mr. Kasti values the strengths and perspectives of physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants as crucial to any transformational change. He also respects the challenges their respective cultural roles present. In Physician Leadership: the Rx for healthcare transformation (2015), he offers paths to integrate Purpose, Strategy, Self, People, and Results.

I also recommend Mo’s book, Beyond Physician Engagement  – They are both guides for healthcare leadership to transformational healthcare. Even though they are about healthcare, the leadership models and lessons are universal.

Publisher – Halo Publishing International.

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21) Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want By Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni.


Image of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go Leadership Book by By Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni.

Beverly Kaye is a leading writer and thought leader deserving her recent honor with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Talent Development. She has parlayed an MA in Education at the George Washington University and a doctorate from UCLA into leadership in training and consulting. Her many books and educational materials are valuable quick reads in employee development, engagement and retention.

Julie Winkle Giulioni studied at Claremont McKenna College, Cal State-Fullerton, and the University of Michigan before launching her career in leadership consulting. One of Inc. magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers, she consults, teaches, speaks, and writes about career development.

In Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go (2019), they have collaborated on a fresh edition of Beverly Kaye’s classic advice on employee engagement and retention. They have added a new perspective from today’s more flexible work environment and culture. But they confirm that career development is the single most powerful tool managers have for driving retention, engagement, productivity, and results.

Publisher – Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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22) Leaderology: “This book shares the best lessons in modern management!” By Oleg Konovalov.


Picture of best books on leadership Leaderology by Oleg Konovalov.

Oleg Konovalov is a globally-recognized thought leader, international speaker, and consultant to Fortune 500 companies. He holds a DBA in macroeconomics from Durham University and a DBA in Business from Durham University Business School. He has been recognized by Thinkers50 and Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches.

In his Foreword to Leaderology (2012), John Spence wrote that he found Konovalo’s insights comparable in power to those of Peter F. Drucker. Dr. Konovalo’s purpose is driven by his conviction that “Too much effort is needed to get good performance from employees if they are disconnected and do not complement each other. It is no wonder the best people are leaving.”

Publisher – WildBlue Press.

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23) From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership By Harry M. Kraemer.


Image of leadership book From Values to Action by Harry M Kraemer.

Harry M. Kraemer, Jr. is a professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he teaches in the MBA and Executive MBA programs. Kraemer is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Baxter International Inc., the multi-billion-dollar global healthcare company, placing him among the most experienced executives on this list.

From Values to Action (2011) is one of a series of titles by Mr. Kraemer. He writes about how leaders influence others, but values-based leaders take things to the next level. Using words, actions, and modeling behaviors, they inspire and motivate others to seek what matters most.

Publisher – Jossey-Bass.

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24) Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen By Rita McGrath.


Image of Seeing Around Corners best leadership books by Rita McGrath.

Currently Professor of Strategy at Columbia Business School, Rita McGrath is an honored graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. Dr. McGrath has used that education to teach, lecture, and coach. She has been ranked #1 for strategy by Thinkers50 while writing several books and contributing regularly to Harvard Business Review.

With a foreword by Clayton Christenson, Seeing Around Corners (2019) presents a methodology for recognizing those inflection points that make a difference to an organization’s future. Those inflection points have “the power to change the very assumptions on which organizations were founded…new, entrepreneurial opportunities — and result in potentially devastating consequences for those still operating under the old model or assumptions.”

Publisher – Houghton-Mifflin Press.

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25) Labyrinth: The Art of Decision-Making By Pawel Motyl.


Picture of Labyrinth The Art of Decision-Making book on leadership by Pawel Motyl.

Educated at the Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Krakow, Jagiellonian University, and the Singularity University, Pawel Motyl is a Marshall Goldsmith coach and certified Stakeholder-Centered Coach. He has been CEO of the ICAN Institute, publisher of the Polish language Harvard Business Review. And, he continues as a leading leadership expert to European organizations.

Labyrinth (2019) is a smart and engrossing read for anyone troubled and challenged by decision-making. Pawel Motyl weaves a narrative covering Spanish novelists, American film producers, global corporate leaders, and more to present a world full of “black swan” events, “unpleasant surprises and events that we cannot predict from prior experience.” He hopes Labyrinth can provide some decision-making options in the face of these new realities.

Publisher – Page Two.

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26) Co-Create: How Your Business Will Profit from Innovative and Strategic Collaboration By David Nour.


Image of Co-Create best Leadership books by David Nour.

After graduating from Georgia State, David Nour completed his Executive MBA at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. A Member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches program, David is a prominent writer and keynote speaker.

Co-create (2019) continues his exploration of relationship economics® holding that co-creation leads to Market Gravity™, “a force that attracts stakeholders to your business because they recognize that many others have also united their interests with yours.”  Nour’s unique approach quantifies the attraction and connection.

Publisher – St. Martin’s Press.

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27) Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters By Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thomson.


Picture of best books on leadership Success Built to Last by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thomson.

Jerry Porras is the Lane Professor of Organizational Behavior, Emeritus, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Dr. Porras earned his MBA at Cornell University and his Ph.D. from UCLA. At Stanford since 1972, he has received the Brilliante Award from the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the Silver Apple Award from the Stanford Business School Alumni Association, and the Kanter Medal from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. Jerry has authored many books and journal articles on organization leadership issues.

Stewart Emery is an entrepreneur and executive coach. One of the fathers of the Human Potential Movement, he is a visiting professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Management and has lead executive teams and organizations through Vision-Values-Strategy initiatives.

Mark C. Thompson completed Master’s degrees at both Stanford and Golden Gaye Universities before pursuing a Ph.D. at Mount Mary University and another at John F. Kennedy University. He has received the World’s #1 CEO Coach/Thinkers50 Goldsmith Awards and lists among the 30 Global Gurus.

Built to Last offers interviews with 300 successful people, “builders” like Jimmy Carter, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Jack Welch.  t“It’s dangerous not to do what you love. The harsh truth is that if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll lose to someone who does!”

Publisher – FT Press.

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28) Be True: A Personal Guide to Becoming Your Most Authentic Self By Julie Rosenberg, MD.


Picture of Be True Leadership books by Julie Rosenberg, MD.

Dr. Julie Rosenberg attended the Southern Methodist’s Cox Business School before completing her doctoral studies at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. The Global Asset Leader on oncology and biosimilars at Pfizer, she is also a Certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Coach.

In Be True (2019), Dr. Rosenberg presents a workbook sending readers on a journey towards their true selves with different exercises and thoughtful questions. She helps you focus, resilience, presence, self-awareness, and overall well-being. I also recommend Julie’s book, Beyond the Mat which provides great advice and practices for achieving work/life balance, building resilience, cultivating compassion, and working effectively with others.

Publisher – Enlightened Leadership Publishing.

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29) The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever By Michael Bungay Stanier.


Image of The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier leadership books.

Michael Bungay Stanier is a member of the Marshall Goldsmith Original Cohort of 25. With a law degree from The Australian National University and an MPhil degree as a Rhodes Scholar at Cambridge University, Michael founded and leads Toronto-based Box of Crayons.

The Coaching Habit (2015) is smart, funny, and different. It addresses those who are not receiving or providing good coaching. He frames his case around seven essential  questions, each with “the potential to transform your weekly check-in on-to-ones, your team meetings, your sales meetings, and (particularly important) those non-meeting moments when you just bump into someone between scheduled events.” Stanier answers his own questions with wit and irreverence.

Publisher – Page Two.

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30) Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter By Liz Wiseman.


Picture of Multipliers best books on leadership by Liz Wiseman.

After completing a Master’s degree in Organizational Behavior at Brigham Young University, Liz Wiseman studies executive coaching at The Wharton School. She is a frequent guest lecturer at BYU and Stanford University, a best-selling author, and heavily-experienced executive coach to Fortune 500 leaders.

This is a revised and updated treatment of Multipliers (2017) addresses “the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment” with the intelligence that amplifies the talents, skills, and capabilities of the people around us. “Multipliers” inspire others to stretch, deliver, and excel.

Publisher –  Harper Business Press.

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31) B State: A New Roadmap for Bold Leadership, Brave Culture, and Breakthrough Results By Mark Samuel.


Image of B State books on leadership by Mark Samuel.

Mark Samuels has a Masters Degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, in Santa Monica, and is also the author of the acclaimed “Creating the Accountable Organization” and his latest book, “Making Yourself Indispensable: The Power of Personal Accountability.”

B State provides a clear roadmap from point A to point B to rapidly achieve measurable, breakthrough results. It’s about a true transformation that removes old mindsets and silos, while replacing inefficient behaviors with desired habits to quickly create the highest performing culture for groundbreaking business outcomes.

Pulisher- Greenleaf Book Publishing

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32) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us By Daniel Pink.


Picture of leadership books Drive by Daniel Pink.

The international best-selling author, Daniel Pink was a Phi Beta Kappa and Truman Scholar at Northwestern University and holds a law degree from Yale. With four New York Times top-selling books under his belt, Daniel has also been a TV host, commentator, and speechwriter for Al Gore.

Drive (2011) draws on four decades of research on motivation to assert the secret to high performance and satisfaction at work is the deeply held human need to direct our lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. Drive promotes the value of autonomy, mastery, and purpose with practical directions on how to convert them into action.

Publisher – Riverhead Books.

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33) In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance by Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace By Louis Carter


Image of best books on leadership In Great Company by Louis Carter.

No list can be complete without my own book, right? For over 20 years, I’ve devoted my life to the study, teaching, and practice of organizational psychology and leadership development. I have seen what works and what doesn’t in our world’s best organizations.

In my book, In Great Company, I bring you my life long research on how to create a culture where every leader and employee thrives and succeeds. Everyone needs a framework and culture that supports their development, creativity, and goals achievement. My research shows that when leaders create a psychologically safe, outcomes oriented culture, great things happen. When everyone becomes a leader of an emotionally connected culture, we all win.

Publisher – McGraw Hill.

The 33 Best Leadership Books You Haven’t Heard Of 1

The 33 Best Leadership Books You Haven’t Heard Of 4

Closing the book

Most of these books are available in digital and audio formats, some at attractively low prices. So, opt to start or add to your library now. While you’re shopping, you might check out my others books, 

7 Key Strengths of Task-Oriented Leadership

7 Key Strengths of Task-Oriented Leadership

The task-oriented leadership style is often a bit controversial when it comes to leadership styles. When compared to people-oriented or relationship-oriented leadership, it is quite often seen as narrow-minded and blunt. While that may be the case, it still has its place in the realm of leadership. 

The great NFL Coach Vince Lombardi demonstrated it best when he said

“Winning isn’t the only thing. It’s everything.”

Coach Lombardi proves to be a prime example in task-oriented leadership. His task? Winning. His method? Do whatever it takes to get the job done.

What is task-oriented leadership?

Task-oriented leadership is a directive style of leadership specifying tasks and goals. Task-oriented leaders provide steps and a plan to meet the goals of an organization. In task-oriented leadership, the leader can achieve a specific standard of performance in their direction. You can choose task-oriented leadership as a style to incorporate your management skills in the business.

Task-oriented leadership is highly goal focused and complete the objectives within specified deadlines. Task-oriented leaders define the roles of the whole team, supporting them. Task-oriented leaders provide specific work tools, resources, and other tools to get the job done. In this kind of leadership, everything is focused on achieving the task.

What are the Strengths and strategies of task-oriented leadership?

This directive kind of leadership strives to ensure the achievement of deadlines. This type of leadership is much different than relationship-oriented leadership, which focuses on developing strong bonds and being emotionally supportive for many reasons:

In specific circumstances and situations, employees require and thirst for direction.

Being direct provides step by step solutions to problems and tasks that need to complete on specific deadlines.

These types of leaders actively understand the employee requirements for completing the assignments and getting the job done. Leaders who are competent style are especially beneficial for industries that need to fulfill strict targets.

Task-oriented leaders know how to divide the work according to the team’s strengths, competencies, and roles within the time limit required. They understand their resource limitations and make defined plans to assign the work to highly effective and efficient employees to meet the closing date. In this way, the leader can achieve results more successfully than any other kind of leadership.

“In startups there can at times be a lot of shifting priorities, changing dynamics in the market and what can at times only be called chaos. In this case the CEO has to be what’s called a “wartime CEO.” She has to convey calm confidence and give clear direction. That is not consensus – “tell me what you think we should do.” That is not empathetic – “tell me how you feel.” It is directive – “let me tell you what I need you to do . ” This is essential during these kinds of times since things are moving so fast the CEO has to offer up a clear beacon for people to follow.”

Alisa Cohn – #1 Startup Coach in the World – Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Leading Coaches Awards

Seven key strengths of task-oriented leadership are:

  1. Clarify objectives: Task-oriented leaders provide direct instruction. For example, if you are working with a team, you need to specify simple instructions, deadlines, and targets to employees to make it easy for them to achieve the potential you want.
  2. Framework tasks precisely. If you are working on a project, you need to outline the mission first. List the essential jobs and then accurately explain the processes. Design the methods and strategies with them to brainstorm the ideas in a well-mannered course of action.
  3. Issue exact deadlines. Setting deadlines is essential for the group to have a sense of achievement. Set reminders for your employees and ask them to work actively over the project, which has strict deadlines.
  4. Offer guidance. Provide clear advice and direction to avoid mistakes, roadblocks, and hassles. Give opportunities to ask questions. Provide information, resources, research, and other points of clarification. By offering guidance, you will address obstacles and move another step towards progress.
  5. Excellent representatives They know very well which team is suitable for which task; therefore, they are great at proper delegations. They drive productivity levels higher by identifying the strengths of their employees.
  6. Apply a reward system: After their teams have achieved key results and objectives, apply systems to continually reward and motivate. For example, set a reward, bonus, time off or other factors specific to individual’s diverse sets of motivation at the end of the month to increase productivity and make a disciplined work environment.
  7. Attain favorable outcomes: This leadership style achieves the best results by directing team strengths and setting strategies. They understand their responsibilities well and work effectively.

These skills and strategies which help you become more focused on results and outcomes. It will help if you are typically less concerned about catering constantly to emotional requirements rather than the tasks to be completed.

What are the weaknesses of task-oriented leadership?

The weakness of task-oriented leadership is that it ignores the welfare and happiness of the staff. Being focused on the task can result in the leader ignoring some critical issues that may come up within the team. Pushing the staff to complete the job without paying attention to their personal needs can result in a negative environment within the workplace, which can lead the workforce to be less productive.

Task-oriented leadership tends to stifle ground-breaking, creative, or spontaneous work. Instead, employees typically follow orders, have fixed deadlines for the projects, and have less or no flexibility in completing the tasks. The team that works under this kind of leadership can often lack interest, inspiration, and enthusiasm to go beyond the limits.

With few chances to explore new ideas, the staff gets limited in their ability to develop into more complex job roles. Development and training are formal in this environment, which limits staff development opportunities.

Famous examples of task-oriented leaders:

An excellent example of task-oriented leaders is the project managers who are in charge of big projects. Project managers are typically concerned with completing the project within the specified time limit and attaining the project goals.

Good examples of business leaders in this category are the low-level managers in the association who are accountable for the day-to-day operations of the enterprise. They are excellent at arranging processes and tasks necessary to implement projects dictated by middle-level managers.

This leadership type includes various small tasks and will deploy work appropriately to guarantee that everything completes in a productive and promising way. Process-oriented leadership will be appropriate in areas where management of processes is essential to meet the stated expectations. Process-oriented leaders understand that productivity is one of the paramount factors in meeting goals. Command and control of operations in small groups are essential and yield much success in the attainment of goals.

Tim Cook:

He is the CEO of one of the largest tech companies in the world, but also the eighth largest company in the world on Forbes’ Global 2000 list, Apple. Cook has helped navigate Apple through the evolution after Jobs’ death and opening Apple retail stores in China. About leadership, his views are:

“It’s about finding your values and committing to them. It’s about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.”

Sheryl Sandberg:

She has been the CEO of Facebook and has been an advocate for women in business. She is a great task-oriented leader and says:

Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.

Jack Ma:

Jack Ma was the first businessperson from mainland China to give an impression on the cover of Forbes magazine. He founded Alibaba Group, a group of internet companies. He is the richest man in China. Look what he says about the leadership:

Leadership is your instinct, and then it’s your training. Leaders are always positive; they never complain.

Bill Gates:

Who doesn’t know about Bill Gates? As the founder of Microsoft, he is listed as the second richest person in the world, with a current net worth of $108.8 billion, according to Forbes. Although this might change by the time you are reading this article, Jeff Bezos might be ranked #1. 

He says:

If you give people tools, [and they use] their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.

Please also read Amazon Leadership Principles.

What are other forms of leadership that are not task-oriented?

There is much research on task-oriented leadership and other styles of leadership. Therefore it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of any of them. Each of them has its pros and cons. Have a look at other forms of leadership.

Public oriented leadership:

People-oriented leadership is just the opposite of task-oriented leadership. In this type of leadership, the leader is more concerned about the well being of people and public perception. The leader is more concerned with the effect of his decisions over his people or employees. It requires the high involvement of the leader in any task. Democratic leadership is said to be the public-oriented leadership. It can take a longer time to make effective decisions. Thus it also requires the opinions of the team members.

Relationship oriented leadership:

Relationship-oriented leaders are concerned with motivating people through positive communication, moral support, and active listening. The relationship-oriented leader focuses on satisfaction and motivation.

Final words:

All organizations need task-oriented leadership – if it didn’t exist, very few tasks would ever get completed. You need to meet deadlines, explain the procedures to clients, and then enjoy the best outcomes.

Management is most associated with task-oriented leadership. It is essential to balance this type of leadership with relationship-oriented leadership to avoid dysfunctional working relationships.

Leaders should consider well being, stress management, and work-life balance so that the workforce will become more productive and highly engaged.

C-Level Executive Onboarding: 3 Steps to Preparing Yourself for Successful Leadership

C-Level Executive Onboarding: 3 Steps to Preparing Yourself for Successful Leadership

Working your way up to a C-level executive position can be an exciting achievement, but the mindset that many maintain when they accomplish this feat can set them up for failure down the road.

While you are the leader of the company and are expected to grow it and carry it forward, you will need to be receptive as well, listening to the needs and ideas of those who are working with you. For those who are just coming into a company, the initial onboarding process may seem like a time to find out who works there and to see the system behind how things are being run.

These are only two pieces of the puzzle, however, and in order to be a truly effective leader, you have to make sure that you are taking the time to learn more about those who work in the company as well as how you can make valuable changes within the company as well.

If you have just landed a C-level executive position and want to make sure that you start off on the right foot, here are three steps to preparing yourself for successful leadership that you will need to follow when you first enter a company.

1. Engage in Mindful Listening During Listening Tours.

CEOs or other C-level executives who take listening tours of their new companies forget that this is the prime time to evaluate the current state of their organization and to learn where their skills and guidance will be most needed. A tour is never just an introduction. It is an opportunity to learn!

As with every aspect of your new position, you are going to need to pay careful attention to every portion of each tour, ask questions, and engage with those who are showing you around the company that you will be running. Not only is mindful listening a skill that will make your job easier when you start taking on the work, but it will also help you develop better relationships with people on your team.

As I stated in my book, In Great Company, one study conducted in 2018 that assessed the interactions between public speakers with engaged groups and with distracted groups found that those who were speaking to engaged listeners felt significantly less anxious and were able to easily connect with these individuals while providing a more beneficial demonstration.

Put simply, active listening results in better communication, which is essential if you plan on doing your job to the best of your ability and build relationships with the people who will be helping you to ensure your company’s success. Find out what drives them, their passions, their purpose – and how you can help them get there. Give of yourself and what you can do for them, and good things will follow.

2. Carefully Observe Your Surroundings and the Processes Currently in Place.

All companies have areas that need improvement, regardless of the success that they have achieved to date. As the new leader of a company, it is your responsibility to take the time to examine a company’s processes and operations in order to identify those weaknesses and to implement better practices that will spur growth and generate positive results.

There is no better time than a company tour to begin evaluating where they have potential and where they may be failing. As you are brought through the different departments and taught how things work, ask yourself, what could we do better? Where can we improve, and how can I begin to make those improvements? What is working for us, and what needs to be adjusted or removed?

One excellent example of this from, In Great Company, is the rebound of then-suffering Best Buy. In 2012, Best Buy was buckling under the weight of its poor management, losing profits and customers rapidly as they failed to make necessary changes to their current structure. Fortunately, enough, Hubert Joly took the reins by utilizing their base of existing employee talent and enthusiasm and injecting his own vision to reinvigorate the company and bring it back to profitability and relevance.

Of course, his vision won’t be the same as your vision, but the important takeaway from the example above is that there are always existing positive qualities of a company that you can leverage while you support the areas that are failing. A good CEO pays close attention to how their company operates and makes the necessary changes to ensure its future success.

3. Develop a Report That Will Help You Cultivate a Better Future for the Company.

Behind every great execution stands a well-thought-out, organized plan. While remaining attentive and being inquisitive are two invaluable skills that will help you get the most out of the initial onboarding process with your new company, taking everything that you have learned and crafting a detailed plan of how you will move forward is the next logical step.

One great way to accomplish this is by organizing your thoughts and ideas into a PowerPoint. There you can figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your company, what aspects you want to nurture and grow, what things you need to change or replace, and what unique talents you can contribute to the company. This is also a great time to layout your core values and to figure out your approach to your new leadership position.

Continuing with the above example, Joly improved the company through actions such as:

● Aligning strategy with structure by lowering prices to meet customer demands while still providing the excellent service that their employees were known for. They also allowed for more flexibility so that they could quickly respond to change and allowed their employees to succeed at what they did best.
● Setting people up to succeed by providing the necessary training that helped the organization meet your clear-cut goals.
● Playing to win by continuously seeking growth, opportunity, and success.
● Fostering resilience by focusing on strengths and tackling issues where present.

With the right outline for success combined with your own infusion of talent, you can carry your company to victory!

Being a successful leader begins as soon as you accept a C-level position, but not everyone knows exactly how to start off on the right foot. If you believe that the guide above will help you successfully make the transition, make sure to read In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance By Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace to gain more insight into what great leadership looks like!

CEO of Best Practice Institute, Louis Carter, Re-nominated as Number 7 Global Guru in Organizational Culture

CEO of Best Practice Institute, Louis Carter, Re-nominated as Number 7 Global Guru in Organizational Culture

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., Dec. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Louis Carter, the current number 7 Global Guru in Organizational Culture, has been re-nominated as one of the key organizational culture experts by Global Gurus and Marshall Goldsmith. The award-winning CEO executive coach, business strategist and organizational development expert applies his own research, with the research of his peers and mentors to real life situations and creates measurable results.

Louis Carter, CEO and President of Best Practice Institute started applying his Social Organizational Psychology skills as far back as 2001 by combining it with his other life’s passion – drumming. A Social/Organizational Psychology Grad Student at Columbia University in NYC and musician on September 11, 2001, Carter used his skills to create a haven where people that had been through the horrors of that day can come together and grieve, while sharing their experiences. Not being one to conform with organizational practices which he considered orthodox and ineffective, Louis Carter brought a new and different approach at the time to corporate structures where he could change them to be dynamic and effective.

During the same year in 2001, Louis met Bishop William Swing of the Episcopal Church of California, who changed the way Carter would think about how to turn around dysfunctional, low performing and unmotivated groups and organizations. Bishop Swing founded the United Religions Initiative as a model to the United Nations with guidance and commitment from leaders of many of the world’s religions, including the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Islam’s Grand Mufti of Egypt, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

This relationship inspired Carter to create the same for corporations in the form of helping CEOs and teams co-create a shared ecumenical document for their company. This document allowed companies and its teams to execute on shared goals which, through Carter’s recent research for his book, In Great Company (McGraw-Hill, 2019), has proven to increase motivation, accountability and time to execute.

Carter founded Best Practice Institute(BPI), a management consultancy firm that specializes in helping budding and realized mid to large sized companies, and their senior executives, with plans and strategies to run, manage and lead their businesses. During the past 18 years, companies in every major vertical industry have gone through Carter’s programs, coaching, and consulting.
Global Gurus are voted for entirely by their industry peers, based specifically on the profound impact the experts have had on them, their teams and their organization. Global Gurus are selected due to their actions, unique concepts and the personal ability to apply and benefit from what the work have taught. To vote for Louis Carter to remain the top Guru in Organizational Culture for this year goto:

Louis Carter, along with his firm, Best Practice Institute, continues finding new ways to get the best out of organizations, which makes clear why in 2018 he was named the number 7 global guru in organizational culture. Louis Carter is also proud to be handpicked by Marshall Goldsmith as a MG100 coach, where he provides one pro-bono project a year, to “pay-it-forward” and provide help and accountability to other thought leaders to become even more successful.

About Louis Carter
Louis Carter is CEO and founder of Best Practice Institute, a benchmark research consortium, association and management consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and C-suite senior executives achieve their market strategy through talent management, executive coaching, leadership development, organizational culture and change management. He is the author of nearly a dozen books on best practices and organizational leadership. Published by Jossey Bass/John Wiley and Sons and McGraw Hill, including Change Champions, Best Practices in Talent Management, Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change and Leading the Global Workforce. In his speaking career, he has taught at the Tsinghua School of Business and People’s University in Beijing, Jackson State University, Seton Hall University and Universal Network Intelligence (UNI) in Asia, HR Magazine in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and the Dubai HR Lighthouse Initiative. Louis is widely sought after as an expert in the field where he helps successful leaders and teams achieve their business goals. He has been quoted and profiled by Fast Company, Investor’s Business Daily, Business Watch Magazine, Pando Daily, CNBC, Forbes and CIO Magazine; while his research and teaching has been translated across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North & South America. He has held numerous executive coaching, business strategy consulting, facilitation and business acceleration roles. His newest book is In Great Company: How to spark peak performance by creating an emotionally connected workplace (McGraw Hill).

Instead of Looking Back, Let’s Look Forward (6 Tips to Give Feed-Forward)

Instead of Looking Back, Let’s Look Forward (6 Tips to Give Feed-Forward)

Feedback is a part of every workplace and a common tool for individual improvement. Applying constructive methods to improve existing and develop new skills is crucial to any performing culture, or individual, seeking advantages. Yet through this tried, long standing interaction, we overlook how to enhance the ways we give feedback. The constant change among workplaces demands new, emerging, interpersonal strategies that challenge the status quo of feedback and how to develop the individual.

Enter Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame #1 Executive Coach in the world, and my mentor and good friend of 20+ years. His work continues to accomplish leadership and workplace development through the newest coaching concept of “feed-forward”. Feed-forward is a constructive communication style that delivers individual growth by focusing on what’s ahead and collaboratively preparing the individual for future success.

Feedback, which many falls back on, is rooted in the negative by looking back on mistakes and attempting to develop from there. If mishandled, this can lead to lower individual motivation to change and, in group settings like meetings, innovation and dialogue can be suppressed. Feed-forward changes the conversation by looking ahead. It positively influences the dialogue and encourages individuals to grow. Here are 5 actionable ways you can begin applying it:

1. Start with the Question
Arguably any leader’s greatest strength is in the questions they ask. Powerful inquiry opens the doorway for reflection, conversation and development to begin. As a leader, applying the feed-forward approach, each question must be constructed with a focus on the future, and it should include ideas related to what the individual can do and how they can develop. What can I do better next time? What is the best way to achieve this in the future?

2. Forward Influenced Conversation
As leaders, if we engage with others to think about the future and what can be done to prepare for it, then our conversation must also reflect this philosophy as well. Put simply, the dialogue between leaders and others should consistently integrate future thinking. Rather than stating “Here’s what you did…”, the message can be phrased as “Next time, you can…” A simple tweak in how the message is communicated can make all difference between dwelling in the past or looking towards the future.

3. Dialogue and Co-Create Rather than Sell and Tell
There’s a fundamental difference in dictating and dialoguing in an interaction, and the difference is easy to recognize. Feeling patronized is experienced when we are being talked at; the conversation is a one-way trip with little room for questions. Dialoguing differs by framing the conversation as a two-way conversation; the other side can participate, ask questions and speak. By creating equality in the conversation with equal airtime, feed-forward further encourages the spark for the individual to change. Using this approach may phrase questions as “Help me understand…” Or “Would you mind…”

4. Active Listening
How we organize our messages and communicate them is just as powerful as how we listen. At the core, feed-forward is about weaving the developing individual’s mind, thoughts, and focus on what they can do. As dialogue is formed, active listening is critical here (pun intended). It presents an opportunity for the individual coaching to confirm that they are engaged with the other side. If needed, it also works as a method to clarify and adjust the conversation; ensuring all parties are on the same page. Where hearing occurs when one regurgitates verbatim what was said, active listening plays back what was said through the individual’s authentic style. Phrases that support these situations can be “What I’m hearing you say is…”, “Thank you sharing that, my understanding is that…” or “Would you clarify…”

5. Use “And” Rather Than “But”
And… after actively listening and mirroring back your understanding be sure to use the words “and” rather than “but.” Saying the word, “but” negates your last statement. Imagine you were just told you are a great physician, BUT you need to think about the bigger picture. Change that to “You are a really great physician AND I invite you to think about the future of your work.” Sounds different, right? Now you can be both a great physician AND consider other ways of thinking.

6. Reflect on your Feed-Forward Skills
Providing actionable, productive feed-forward communication is a skill and just like throwing a baseball or playing an instrument, it needs practice to become natural. The same goes here for applying feed-forward into your life and daily interactions. After a session or session has concluded, take a few minutes to debrief and think over how well it worked. Perhaps it’s better to write your thoughts in a journal, record a video or connect with another coach.

Feed-forward asks us to breakaway from what we know and what we’ve experienced through feedback. Feedback can crush motivation and sour relationships by focusing on what people did wrong. By integrating these steps and frequently applying them, the channels of positivity and motivation to change openly. The goal of any coach should be to add value in every conversation and the feed-forward approach weaves this idea together.

Five Things You Can Do to Ensure Your Employees Perform at Their Best

Five Things You Can Do to Ensure Your Employees Perform at Their Best

At some point, it seems money will solve all our problems at once. Money buys wanted things, it helps to keep up with the Joneses, and it pays for the work we do. And, for reasons lost in history, too many employers remain stuck in time and motion mindsets when they organize work.

In one form or another, management and stakeholders assumed efficiency lay at the heart of all business performance. Analysts examined and revisited worker performance to find the most efficient method of completing a task. One early study of coal shoveling workers redesigned shovels to make their arduous work even more efficient.

The idea that employers should compensate employees for the speed and quality of their tasks still informs management approaches., for instance, puts compensation at the top of its list of nine ways to motivate employees saying, “Pay your people what they are worth.” Of course, you should pay people what they are worth – but that certainly doesn’t make them want to perform more and better for you.The research included in my new book, In Great Company offers a significant paradigm shift proving invaluable to profitable organizations.

5 things you can do

The idea of “happy” workers can present a linguistic problem because “happy” has its subjective perceptions. But it is clear employees suffer less stress, work more creatively, and contribute more when employers remove the barriers to their working with a focus on tasks in which they can lose themselves. Our research studied such “happy” workers and the context in which they performed trying to discern a prototype of “the most loved workplace.”

Jenny Darroch, Dean and Professor at The Peter F. Drucker Management School, summarized the link Drucker made between change and success. “Change leaders ask questions, listen, and observe, filter what is discovered through the lens of who the customer is and what the customer values, place bets, abandon the old, and serve as excellent executors of strategy”

Leaders start with deep and wide observation, immersing themselves in the flow of employee work and the personalities they bring to the task. Where consensus proves weak, they fix the work or the teams. Where questions are not asked, leaders ask the questions. And where organization individuals have not met customers, leaders initiate the relationships.

The change leaders running the best performing organizations have come to share the human value in emotional connectedness, the human sense of belonging linking family members, community efforts, faith groups, sports teams, and more.

They find success in adopting the behaviors listed here:

  1. Make collaboration a method and goal!

Systemic collaboration gets to the core of true functional collaboration, a part of the inner-workings of the organization and its decision-making processes. Employees work well in small teams where they can co-create results in sharing information and advice freely, where contributions are respected, and where their feedback is used. Encouraging and modeling collaboration creates and sustains social connections that prove emotionally satisfying to the employees.

  1.     Ensure a futures focus!

Change requires surrendering the past. All organizations tend to protect and continue the patterns they know best. They are not inclined to reinvent any wheels. But the continuity is an illusion. It only sustains a sameness which loses market demand in time. Future markets demand innovation and the passion to make it happen. And that requires workers moving forward in a unified way. To move an organization from the status quo, change must show the way, draw the map, and model the alignment.

  1.     Align the values!

As organizations move beyond values like efficiency, they aver their commitment to higher values like honesty, integrity, transparency, and customer satisfaction. The resonance with personal beliefs connects concerns and efforts. Of course, nothing happens until everyone embraces the values in common effort. Granular practices include doing what you say you are going to do or speaking truth instead of avoiding it. More conceptually challenging practices include living espoused values and ethics.

  1.     Use respect as currency!

Respect must be the organization’s language and currency. As respect becomes compensation, it values and connects persons and their capabilities. It becomes a social currency with reciprocal values in exchange. From “Well done!” to trophies and plaques to newsletter headlines, and so on. The respect is a constant, a fiber and glue holding the organization together and perhaps leaning forward. It informs practice, plans, and performance.

  1.     Deliver killer achievements!

Achievements feel hollow unless both the individual and organization get something out of them. Killer achievement delivers a combination of financial and emotional benefits amplifying the effect for everyone. Employees love a workplace that empowers people to focus on the customers and critical goals while eliminating extraneous minutia. In this case, emotional connectedness is markedly deepened when people have objectives that are simply stated and when the system removes competing interests blocking the path to success. Critical to this dimension are identifying and measuring the elements most important to the organization and allowing easy options for executive coaching, leadership and organization development.

The profit in performance

A workplace established on emotional-connectedness makes sense and dollars. Consider the likes of Zoom Video, In-n-Out Burgers, LinkedIn, Trader Joe’s, Southwest Airlines, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Wegman’s Food Markets, and more listed by Glassdoor’s 2019 Best Places to Work.

Chief among the habits of their employees is their constant willingness to brag about their workplace, affirm what it means to them, praise their co-workers, and recommend working there.

Louis Carter, MA is author of over 10 books on best practices in leadership and management including Change Champion’s Field Guide, Best Practices in Talent Management, and In Great Company. He is one of the top advisors to C-level executives – helping them and their organizations achieve measurable results. Carter is the recipient of ELearning! Magazine’s Trailblazer Award, HR Tech Conference’s Top Products Award, and Leadership Excellence Magazine’s Best in Leadership Development for his work as Chairman and CEO of Best Practice Institute. He received his MA in Social/Organizational Psychology from Columbia University


Works Cited

Carter, L. (2019). In Great Company. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Darroch, J. (2017, June 2). How to Manage through Change, the Drucker Way: Where are the Change Leaders? Retrieved Feb. 20, 2019, from HuffPost:

Economy, P. (2016, March 16). 9 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Team. Retrieved Feb. 22, 2019, from

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