I’ve noticed that great senior leaders typically are tenacious readers. I’ve also observed that those who do a great job developing leaders are typically taking one or more of their leaders through a book. In fact, I would go so far as to say if you’re not developing your team to be readers then you’re probably not developing them as leaders.
If I were bringing on a new staff member who had little leadership experience, there are five books I would spend the first six to eight months taking them through. Over the years, I’ve taken several people through these books and they always have a great impact.
Why this book? Blanchard boils leadership down to three simple disciplines: One-minute goal setting, One-minute praising, One-minute reprimands. In fact anytime I hire someone new this is the first book I give them. If you practice what Blanchard suggests it will align your expectations with those you lead. As you’ve probably heard me say before, “If you don’t have shared expectations, you’ll have shared frustrations.”
How long will it take? About 3 sessions (one session per discipline).
Why this book? The Blackaby’s address foundational leadership competencies from a strong Scriptural and spiritual perspective. In this book, your leaders will learn practical skills like time management, vision casting and decision-making. And they will be challenged to deepen their leadership character as the core of their leadership. I love their definition of leadership, “moving people from where they are to where God wants them to be.”
How long will it take? I would break the 13 chapters into seven sessions.
Why this book? The Gallup organization studied 1.7 million professionals from varying fields looking for what made them good at what they do. As a result, they identified 34 Strength themes. The book includes an online strengths assessment that reveals an individual’s top 5 strength themes. The authors define a strength as a “consistent near-perfect performance in an activity.” The book is loaded with practical ways to put your strengths into practice. And there is a back section for a manager to help them know how to lead people based on their individual strength themes.
How long will it take? I would do 2-3 sessions. Read the first three chapters and take the online assessment. Meet one time to discuss what you learned from the reading. Meet the next two times to discuss how you’re putting your strengths into practice on a weekly basis.
Why this book? Blanchard says you can’t lead all people the same way. And you can’t lead the same people the same way all the time. So he teaches how to identify someone’s “development” level and match a corresponding leadership style with that level. It is a brilliant leadership approach and may help you see why your team members sometimes get frustrated with you. It may be that you’re providing the wrong leadership style at the wrong time.
How Long will it take? I would recommend going through this book in 4-6 sessions breaking it up according to the different leadership styles taught throughout the book. The key to helping your leaders get this will be helping them practice what they learn.
Why this book? Gallup did an in-depth study of great managers to discover the leadership practices that made them effective. From this study, they developed 12 questions structured to help measure employee’s level of engagement. The book is outlined around four keys that leaders can use to create high employee engagement. The factors they discovered that create a high level of engagement may shock you. Spoiler Alert: Money is not one of them.
How Long will it take? I recommend doing this book in seven sessions.
If you follow this 5 book plan it gives you six to eight months of development sessions with your new leader(s).
What books would you take a new hire through?
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