Overconfident Leader Danger

Overconfident Leader Danger

Leading in an overconfident manner with excessive pride and little agility has no place in leadership, particularly at the C-level. Although we’ve all seen it, this behavior can’t be tolerated or accepted as a norm. Great leaders call on their team, colleagues, clients and bosses for honest advice and welcome collaboration.


Nobody can be a subject matter expert in all areas. Executives must embrace their colleagues and bosses’ value and advice versus making arrogance-based decisions.  Leaders who protect their team’s value at the expense of productivity and accuracy are particularly egregious. They instill a protective barrier that breaks down communication between other departments, peers and their bosses.

How Overconfidence Affects an Organization

It has been proven repeatedly that overconfidence causes destruction. C-suite leaders must understand that decisions on the executive level have deep and lasting impacts. It destroys relationships, alienates teams and can lead to massive mistakes.

Leaders with humility have stronger company performance and are less prone to error.  Whereas overly confident leaders cost their company valuable credibility and have a much higher chance of being fired. Humble leaders admit their mistakes while arrogant leaders are unable to acknowledge their errors or recognize areas in which they can improve.

Overconfidence is a trait often acquired via increased power. As a leader’s power grows, more often than not, it becomes harder for the leader to admit mistakes or wrongdoings of any kind. Thus, they are more unwilling to learn from their mistakes to achieve a successful outcome.

Overconfident Leader Danger 1

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

A possible reason for this kind of overconfident behavior is attributed to a psychological theory called the “Dunning-Kruger effect. Leaders who experience this have a low ability to complete the task with an overconfidence that they can do it. Without the process of meta-cognitiion and self-awareness, leaders who experience the Dunning-Kruger effect, will not be able to fully learn from errors.

An additional study involved executive level participants reading a list of statements, then taking a survey on the subjects of those statements. Note that some of the subjects were actually fiction presented as fact. Participants then read a second list of statements and had to identify which they had read before and which were new. The arrogant participants were much more confident in their wrong answers being right, and the more humble ones chose the new statements more often.

Further research shows that leaders with more learning agility have more humility. This humility comes with more willingness to learn from mistakes, take more advice from peers and bosses, and change behavior and outcomes.

I define learning agility as the ability to change our behaviors and practices based on reflections from failures and successes.

Several practices that go along with learning agility are:

  1. Listen without distraction
  2. Mirror back understanding
  3. Hold after action reviews
  4. Perform a cost/benefit analysis of what to change
  5. Follow-up
  6. Measure changes

Destructive Examples of Overconfidence in Leadership

Unfortunately, it’s probably not difficult to recall an example of your own experience of overconfidence in leadership. This type of behavior can occur in a variety of settings.

One of the most devastating effects of overconfidence was the egotistical failure of the FBI and CIA to share information ahead of the terror attacks of September 11. In this case, their overconfidence combined with an almost sociopathic tendency to insist that they each were correct led to the death of thousands of innocent people. When leaders make decisions based on their own personal strategies and ideals versus doing what is right for the greater good, the end is often catastrophic.

Another well-known example of overconfidence was Kenneth Lay, the former CEO of Enron. After his initial retirement from Enron, he returned to the company to bring it back to its former glory. The company was floundering, and he was determined to save it. Instead of admitting the position they were in and asking for help, Lay resorted to unethical accounting to cover the flaws. As a result, thousands of employees and stockholders were left in financial ruin.

Interventions for Overconfident Leaders

The good news is that specific interventions can be put in place to lessen the impact of possible overconfident decision making. As expected, overconfident leaders are completely certain that they are not at fault. They may acquiescently make small adjustments to mitigate the situation, but those rarely take hold. So how do we manage or even halt this type of leadership?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Engage in after action reviews after mistakes are made. Create a plan on how to do better next time and a separate plan on how to enforce it.
  2. Commit to learning agility. Be open to the fact that there could be better ways to solve the problem, and commit to considering alternate solutions.
  3. Hold the team accountable. If the leader can’t do it all, then the entire team must be held accountable for researching options and bringing relevant information to the table in order to implement the optimal solution.
  4. Encourage humility. Ask questions and reinforce the fact that it is ok to say, “I don’t know.”
  5. Search for developmental opportunities. Both leaders and their teams should be committed to continuously develop each other through practicing courageous conversations and holding each other accountable for a new culture of openness and psychological safety.
  6. Instill company values and ethics. Consistently review areas of improvement where constructive criticism is encouraged and high ethical standards are lauded.

A Final Word

It’s important to remember that as a leader there is a fine line between humility and overconfidence. While it’s ok to be confident, it’s important to be aware of where that confidence lies and how it affects the organization. Overconfident Leadership destroys relationships which, in turn, can quickly destroy a business. Seek to balance both humility and confidence.


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Transformational Leadership – Let’s Transform Ourselves and Others During Time of Chaos

Transformational Leadership – Let’s Transform Ourselves and Others During Time of Chaos

My Invitation to Transform Yourself in Times of Chaos – Transformational Leadership

Dee once said, “Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.”

Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of Visa credit card organization in his book, Birth of the Chaordic Age spoke of the need for strong transformational leadership in an otherwise chaotic world.

Today, I was confronted with enormous amounts of fear. And, I wondered – why may this be happening? Is it me?
Then I stopped and thought – Of course it is! I was expecting it, and guess what, I got it!

Then I changed, stopped and meditated, and changed my reality to one of positivity – a positive future.

Now more than ever as we are resetting the world with chaos, we need peace, empathy, emotional regulation, and yes, love for ourselves and others. In the midst of this chaos, emotions flare. You have control over how you react to these emotions.

For just a moment:

  1. Stop everything you are doing.
  2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath – a long breath and exhale.
  3. Let go of what you think you know.
  4. Create your vision of you and the world you want.
  5. You are the “I am” of your “I am.”
  6. Repeat “I am” and fill in the blank of what you want to be.

Some I am’s I find helpful are:

  • I am safe.
  • I am loved.
  • I am wise.
  • I am respected.

What is your “I am?”

Now more than ever, fear is taking over. I, like you, take all precautions of physical distancing. And, this can be scary and challenging to most people – especially those who are used to being together socially on a consistent basis.

Would you like to transform with me?

I invite you to move your attention to your responses and how you lead, trust, and respect others.

The words “I will” create a new reality for you and others. Here are some examples of “I wills”:

  • I will help others feel safe.
  • I will help others feel loved.
  • I will help others feel respected.
  • I will help others feel wise.

In our new world, I invite you to move your attention to what you most like to manifest in your life. For the good of yourself. For the good of your loved ones. And, the good of all humanity.

A Deep Look Into the 14 Fascinating Amazon Leadership Principles

A Deep Look Into the 14 Fascinating Amazon Leadership Principles

“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”– Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos believes in an influential core company culture for business success and undoubtedly his vision has yielded desired results for him. The numbers are in his favor. In 2019, Amazon became the most valuable company in terms of B2B marketing and reached over US$1 Trillion. The world is astounded by his success and wants to know his guiding principles which paved way for his success.

Clearly, the amazon leadership principles are most sought after today by people living all across the world. These amazon 14 leadership principles are game-changers as they cover everything from interview questions to team dynamics and the culture of the business.

Amazon.com is very proud of the leadership principles that have governed their nova burst into corporate stardom. Who would have imagined that a startup started 23 years back solely focused on selling books online – and is now the 5th largest company in the United States?

Led by Jeff Bezos, amazon leadership principles are a guideline on how to make a business work. This article will especially help those who want to land a job amazon – however, they are universally applicable to any business or leader.  By aligning with these principles, you may acquire the qualities required to get the ideal job in any company.

These fundamental 14 principles are the basic values that govern the company and its employees. Amazon tests its employees and candidates on the principles relevant to the role. Read on to know everything about the amazon leadership principles inspired by some of the most valuable leadership styles.

Everything about the Amazon 14 Leadership Principles

The main thing that makes amazon unique is the leadership principles that lead to problem-solving, productivity and quality decision making. Below is the detail about all the leadership principles inspired by Jeff Bezos for a successful business approach:

1. Customer Obsession

We all have heard a quote that says “customers are always right.” An entrepreneur aspires to tick all the boxes to achieve and maintain the customer’s trust in order to not slip away the client to competitors. The customer obsession based business focuses more on the customers’ retention by enforcing brand loyalty to them in order to gain their trust. It is highly important, especially when you are in a marketing business, where the customer lifestyle really matters.

Customer obsession stands on the principle of understanding clients and taking regular feedback from them on products. To make matters more clear, there are a few questions which an entrepreneur must ask themselves to understand the phenomena of customer obsession under Amazon’s leadership principles.

Here are the questions:

  • How will you prioritize customer’s needs when you are working with a large number of customers and also when it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to all of them?
  • Give an example of an event when you did not meet a client’s demand, what happened then, and how did you deal with it.
  • Who was your most challenging customer?
  • Tell me about the last time you had to apologize to someone.
  • Can you remember a time when you obsessed over giving very high-quality service to a customer?

The keys to success are patience, persistence, and obsessive attention to detail

2. Ownership

The people who say “that’s not my job” are never the owners. Leaders are owners. They always think on a long-term basis and never rely on short term results. They not only act on behalf of their own team but for the entire company. Ownership strengthens the employee-employer relationship.

Because of the ownership, employees respect the phenomena of accountability and show commitment to their organization.. It brings the desired positive outcomes for the development of the company. Some of the interview questions that will determine the basic requirements of ownership are – tell me about a time when you:

  • Had to make a questionable short term decision to build long term gains?
  • Had to work on a project with unclear responsibilities?
  • Had to leave a task incomplete?
  • Took on a task that went beyond your typical responsibilities?
  • Took it upon yourself to work on a thought-provoking initiative.


3. Invent and simplify

Leaders expect innovation from their teams and always seek ways to streamline them. They look for new ideas from far and wide perspective. But having said that it’s also true that in the quest to implement new ideas, there is always a threat that it wouldn’t connect with the target audience.

The only way to get over that roadblock is by introducing user-friendly innovations. It’s true that modern innovative products are ‘The’ factor to stand out from the rest but one must always be cautious to always take into account that is handy for the users.  These questions allow leaders to look at innovation from the required perspective. Tell me about a time when you:

  • Failed to simplify a process and what you would have done otherwise.
  • Developed something, and it went wrong.
  • Changed a process at work through either an innovative new way or simplification.·      Invented something.
  • Gave a simple solution to a complex problem.


4. Are right, a lot

Good leaders are often right in a number of areas. They have definite decision making power and good instincts with proper markups for a business. They seek diverse viewpoints in light of giving innovative products to the target audience. They have the curiosity to learn more at every stage of the business. In the amazon leadership principles, Jeff Bezos noted that leaders are right not because the employee always has to follow the leader, but because a leader has the potential to look for perspectives that an employee cannot. The following questions will also shed light on this aspect. Tell me about a time when you:

  • Had to work with incomplete data or information.
  • Were wrong.
  • Had to use your judgment to solve a problem.
  • Incorporated a diverse set of perspectives into solving a problem.
  • Had your beliefs challenged.  How did you respond?


5. Learn to be curious

This is perhaps the most important Amazon leadership principle as it sets the foundation of the entire business structure. Leaders are never satisfied with their product, the word, ‘perfect’ is not in their dictionary. It’s curiosity which helps them to achieve new feats. They are never done learning and always look to improve themselves. They are curious to know all the possibilities and acts to explore them. They are never satisfied at any point in their business development which makes them interesting. Some example questions from amazon leadership principles in this regard are: Tell me about a time when you:

  • Solved a problem through just greater knowledge or observation?
  • Influenced a change by only asking questions?
  • Went through that changed your way of thinking?
  • Curiosity helped you make a smarter decision?

and :

  • Tell me about the most significant and imperative lesson you learned in the past year from your experience?


6. Hire and develop the best

With every hiring and promotion, a good leader raises the performance bar and productivity. Leaders have a keen eye to recognize the exceptional talent in an employee or to put in other words they always seek the answer to the question in relation to every employee and that is whether they can move the company towards success or not. Leaders are always willing to coach others. They work on behalf of their people to keep inventing for development. According to Jeff Bezos “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.” By putting this quote in consideration, his team compiled the following questions for hiring for development:

  • Tell us about a time when you made a wrong hire. When did you figure it out, and what did you do?
  • Tell us about a time when you mentored someone.
  • Tell us about the best hire you have ever made.
  • What qualities do you look for most when hiring others?
  • Who is the most important person in your life, and why?


7. Insisting highest standards

Amazon leadership principles have its own high standards. It makes the point that leaders have relentlessly high standards in every aspect of the business. A majority may think these standards are excessively high, but, leaders are constantly raising the bar and aim to drive their teams to deliver high-quality products, services, and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not let down the line, and they always try to fix the problems always on time. Some example questions for insisting high standards are – tell me about a time when…

  • A team member didn’t meet your expectations on a project.
  • You couldn’t meet your own expectations on a project.
  • You raised the bar.
  • You motivated a team to go above and beyond.
  • You were dissatisfied with the quality of something at work and went out of your way to improve it.

Jeff Bezos Quotes

8. Think big

Thinking small is a self-fulfilling forecast. Leaders always take a bold direction that stimulates favorable outcomes. They think in their own way and look around corners for ways to serve customers with high standards. Leaders believe that there is no task difficult for them which is why they think big and create innovation. In interviews, the recruiters ask the employees some tricky questions to know their vision. Some examples are here to find out whether the applicant has supervision or not:

  • Tell us about a time when you went way beyond the scope of the project and delivered?
  • Tell us about your proudest professional achievement?
  • Tell us about a time when you were disappointed because you didn’t think big enough?
  • Tell us about a time when your vision resulted in a significant impact?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to make a bold and challenging decision?


9. Bias for action

Timings matter a lot in business. Many decisions and actions are adjustable and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk-taking. Bias for action does not mean acting without consideration. Despite that, the inclination for action means having an idea or evidence, and understanding quickly what that market thinks of it. Amazon leadership principles emphasize on the bias for action prospect because sometimes some decisions are irreversible. In that case, it helps a leader to handle the situation. The questions that can be asked from an employee applying for a relevant role are:

  • Tell me about a time when you took a calculated risk?
  • Tell me about a time you wanted to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?
  • Describe a time when you noted some problems and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to decide with little data or information?
  • Tell us about a time when you made a decision too quickly, and what you would have done differently?


10. Frugality

“I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”- Jeff Bezos

Amazon leadership principles stress on achieving more with less. Restraints breed ingenuity, independence, and creation. There are no additional points for growing headcount, financial budget size or fixed expense. It can lead to wise decision making especially regarding financial concerns. Some interview questions in regards to frugality test are:

  • Tell us about a time when you had to work with limited time or resources.
  • Tell us about a time you had to rely on yourself to finish a task.
  • Tell us about a time where you turned down more resources to complete an assignment.
  • Tell us about a time when you beat out the competition with fewer resources.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to be frugal.


11. Earn trust

Leaders are very attentive; they speak candid and listen to the advice of their subordinates. They are frank with their employees and don’t feel embarrassed about discussing matters which they feel lack knowledge of. They set their goals against the best and motivates their team to do this as well. In this way, they earn the trust of their employees and also their customers. The applicants who apply for such a relevant position needs to be prepared for some tricky questions. Amazon leadership principles example questions for earning trust are as  follows:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to tell someone a harsh truth?
  • What would you sort out if you come across that your closest friend at work was stealing?
  • What is the quality you value least about yourself?
  • What do you do to gain the trust of your teammates?
  • Tell us about an event you had to speak up in a stressful environment?


12. Dive Deep

Leaders function at all levels, stay associated with the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and narratives differ. No task is below their standards. They always have an in-depth look into all the matters of the business and want to hire such employees who also enjoy supervision. Some interview questions related to the deep dive in all issues are:

  • Tell us about something that you learned recently in your role?
  • Give us two examples of when you did more than what was obligatory in any job experience?
  • Tell us about the most complicated problem you’ve ever worked on?
  • Tell us about a time when understanding the details of a situation helped you arrive at a solution?
  • Tell us about a time you utilized in-depth data to come across a solution?


13. Disagree and Commit

Leaders are obliged to their team members whenever they receive quality advice contrary to their perspective. They don’t feel their authority being undermined when team members respectfully disagree with them while putting an alternative idea. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious with their plans. They do not settle for less for the sake of social solidity. Once a decision is taken collectively, they commit wholly to it. To check the decision making power and strong commitment of an applicant for the relevant job, amazon leadership principles have some questions lined up:

  • Tell us about a time when you had to step up and disagree with a team member’s approach.
  • If your direct manager was coaching you to do something you disagreed with, how would you handle it?
  • Tell us about a time when you did not accept the status quo.
  • Tell us about an unpopular decision of yours.
  • What do you believe that no one else does?


14. Deliver Results

“The keys to success are patience, persistence, and obsessive attention to detail.”– Jeff Bezos

Leaders focus on the critical contributions and efforts for their business and deliver them with the right quality promptly. Despite holdups, they rise to the occasion and never settle for less. Amazon leadership principles result in delivering the best results and here are some of the questions that can be asked to you for a related job:

  • Give me an example of a time when you were 75% of the way through a project, and you had to pivot strategy–how were you able to make that into a success story?
  • By providing an example, tell me when you have had to handle a variety of assignments. Describe the results.
  • What is the most challenging situation you have ever faced in your life? How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you had too much on your plate to deal with and how you handled getting everything done.
  • Tell me about a time when everyone else on your team gave up on something, but you pushed the team towards delivering a result.



The Amazon 14 Leadership Principles are a way for you to find the applicants that best fit within the company culture,  help you fit into the company culture or help you land a job at Amazon!

And let’s face it, the principles are a great way to reflect on your leadership skills even if you aren’t preparing for applying for your dream role at Amazon. If you are preparing for an interview with any company, I recommend developing a handful of your best stories that are wide enough to fit a massive range of potential questions and scenarios.

Or if you are hiring, I recommend you keep at least one of these questions in these 14 principles in your back pocket. Amazon continues to test for these leadership principles on the job as well, so you may want to consider incorporating these into your own leadership programs – technical or not.

5 Most Valuable Leadership Philosophy Examples to Understand

5 Most Valuable Leadership Philosophy Examples to Understand

A strong leadership philosophy is key to successfully running a team, organization, or business. When your leadership style is rooted in a strong set of values and principles, you’ll remain committed to your goals, and you’ll be more likely to motivate and inspire your employees on a regular basis.

Odds are good you already understand this. That doesn’t mean you confidently know how to develop your leadership philosophy statement. Thoroughly understanding how to cultivate a philosophy that provides a foundation for consistent success is often naturally challenging.

It has to be. By studying examples of leadership philosophy, you’ll more clearly understand what you must do to develop your own. First, however, it’s important to accurately know what a leadership philosophy consists of.

What is a Leadership Philosophy?

Studying personal leadership philosophy examples is a valuable activity. The philosophy you eventually cultivate for yourself shouldn’t necessarily be a perfect mirror image of the examples you consider. You need to remember that a leadership philosophy needs to be personal and unique. This is because it needs to be authentic. If you try to lead based on someone else’s philosophy, you’ll be less effective.

A leadership philosophy is essentially a belief system that guides your decision-making. It consists of your core principles, perspectives, and values. When you define what they are, and use them to shape a leadership philosophy statement, your behaviors and decisions will remain consistent.

You can simplify this idea for yourself by thinking about a leader as if they were a parent. Strong parents don’t want to be inconsistent in the way they raise their children. They understand they’ll be more effective if their approach to raising children always reflects their genuine beliefs and values.

The same concept applies to strong leadership. Those you lead will have more respect for you if they can clearly see you make decisions based on core principles that don’t change simply because circumstances have changed.

Personal Leadership Philosophy Examples Worth Studying

Leading with Love – Relational Leadership

It’s easy to become the type of leader who distrusts other people. This is particularly true in business. Regardless of your industry, achieving the status of a leader and helping your company grow requires embracing your competitive nature to some degree.

Unfortunately, some leaders become so competitive that they start to feel they can’t trust others. They become suspicious of everyone else’s motives. They may even consider their own employees to be potential threats. Thus, they may lead ineffectively, behaving too defensively to make the right decisions in all situations.

Other leaders adopt a different approach. They make the decision to “love” everyone they encounter on a regular basis. This love is not the type of love they would feel for a romantic partner, but it is similar to the love one feels for relatives and close family members.

Consider this example of leadership philosophy as you develop your own ideas about how to be an effective leader. Treating your team members (and even your direct competition) with care and respect can be very helpful in a number of ways – and is more of a relational leadership style. For instance, perhaps an employee who was once enthusiastic about their role has become clearly disengaged in recent months. A leader whose philosophy is rooted in defensiveness and competitiveness might assume this employee has turned against them for some reason. As a result, the relationship will suffer, and the worker may seek employment elsewhere.

On the other hand, someone who leads with love in a more relational leadership style would take the time to ask themselves what factors may have contributed to this employee’s lack of engagement. They can then more effectively determine what steps they must take to correct the issue. This yields very practical benefits. Engaged employees are more productive, and more likely to remain loyal to an organization.

Leading with Optimism

Do you believe everyone has the potential to succeed in certain major capacities? Or do you think some people are simply more naturally talented than others, and only a few exceptional individuals can truly thrive in their careers and lives?

Determining how you feel about this can help you determine your overall leadership philosophy. For instance, a leader who naturally assumes some people will always lack the potential to truly succeed will often overlook strengths in both their employees and themselves. However, a leader who is optimistic about everyone’s potential will constantly be on the lookout for qualities and traits they wish to cultivate in themselves and their team members.

Leading with optimism improves your chances of leading a successful team. Focusing on everyone’s innate potential gives you more opportunities to leverage the unique talents of your employees. This belief is summarized in a famous quote from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Thinking you and everyone around you can succeed may be an ideal leadership philosophy principle worth keeping in mind.

Leading as a Facilitator-Learner

Your own personal leadership philosophy needs to be relatively consistent. It won’t help you make the “right” and most consistent decisions if it’s always changing. One way to ensure that you can remain strong in your leadership and vision, while also being agile enough to hear and incorporate the ideas of others is to be a facilitator-learner leader.

Being a facilitator – learner leader means you set the vision of what you are trying to accomplish and create an exercise for your people or a direct report to make the vision come to reality. Starting by doing the exercise on your own is a great way to show your commitment to your vision and the exercise itself. Be sure to be as direct as possible about what the exercise is. For example, if you want specific and simple financial projections that implements your vision around “customer-first” then the exercise should specify, “Create a simple, financial project that is simple and elegant for customers.” Then provide an example. Any adjustments to what you are provided should be given in the form of feed-forward – or advice, so they can be successful in your exercise.

It is crucial to remember that the way in which you approach your day-to-day operations likely will change over the years. This has become quite clear in the digital transformation age. The rise of new technologies has disrupted numerous industries at a faster pace than ever before. Leaders across these industries have had to adapt in order to stay competitive and effective.

Not all have been successful in doing so. Those who have managed to change with their industries tend to be the types of leaders who assume everyone including themselves has the capacity to continue learning new skills over the years. They also tend to be leaders who perceive constant learning as its own virtue.

Leading as a learner as a leadership philosophy has major value in fields where disruption is common. You can’t expect the way you and your team members operate to remain the same throughout your entire career. Change is inevitable. If your leadership philosophy is rooted in the belief that constant learning is both important and possible, you may adapt to these changes with relative ease.

Focusing on Solutions as a Leader

All leaders encounter challenges. This is true in all industries. The way in which you think about these challenges will play a major role in your potential for continued success.

Leaders who believe challenges represent stressful problems often become pessimistic. Every time a new challenge arises, they lose energy. Over time, this leads to frustration. Sadly, if you’re stressed and frustrated as a leader, you’ll struggle to motivate your team.

Other leaders feel almost enthusiastic about challenges. They don’t focus on the problems. Instead, they focus on challenges as new opportunities to develop unique solutions. They also understand that being forced to develop new solutions helps them and their team members cultivate new skills that will be applicable later.

For example, when the United States committed to sending humans to the moon, the scientists who tackled the project set up a major challenge as a major opportunity. Yes, they struggled, but the solutions they developed over the course of the Apollo program helped them achieve other major goals later on.

You may not be responsible for sending a person to the moon. However, your work will involve challenges. Consider inspiring yourself and your team members to overcome them (and grow) by focusing on solutions instead of problems.

Leading with Laughter

This final example of leadership philosophy may seem to be less valuable than the others listed here. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing it! This personal leadership philosophy example can in fact be much more helpful than you might initially assume.

Again, challenges are unavoidable. When they arise, it’s not uncommon for team members to lose enthusiasm for their work. It’s easy to be excited and optimistic when everything is going right. During times of struggle, it’s equally easy to start losing faith in one’s own abilities.

You need to guard against this. Your team will be much less effective if pessimism and cynicism are allowed to fester. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a working environment in which people feel joyful and at ease. In other words, you need to cultivate a working environment in which laughter plays an important role.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t take challenges seriously. On the contrary, your team can only thrive if you approach problems with the understanding that they need to be addressed. And, when these challenges present themselves, you need to find ways to prevent unnecessary stress from creeping in. Leading with a sense of humor and levity will help. When your team members see that you don’t allow problems to worry you, they’ll also be less worried.

Writing Your Leadership Philosophy Statement

Leadership philosophies are intensely personal and specific to your conditions and circumstances. Your leadership philosophy must authentically reflect your actual values and the situations of different employees.

However, by considering examples when writing your own leadership philosophy statement, you’ll have a much better understanding of what questions you should ask yourself to develop a philosophy that’s true to your beliefs.

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.


Image of Reinventing You by Dirue Clark Leadership book


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 – Amazon.com

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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.


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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.


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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.

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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.

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