Endaba’s top 10 leadership books

Endaba Group

What does it take to be a great leader? How do you inspire and get the most out of your team?

Throughout the years, leadership styles and tips have been documented in thousands of books and with so many readily available offering leadership advice, it is tricky to know which ones are really worth your time – which is often very valuable and sparse!

Reading itself is critical to every good leader and its importance can be overlooked, particularly in today’s fast-paced world. It improves communication, emotional intelligence, organisational effectiveness, and reduces stress – all of these factors are critical requirements to being an effective leader!

At Endaba, we understand the importance of reading to an organisation and every Endaba employee receives a copy of Stephen Covey’s ‘Speed of Trust’ when they become a member of our team. Steve Forbes, President and CEO, Forbes explains “Covey brilliantly focuses on that overlooked bedrock of democratic capitalism — trust. Like the air we breathe, we too often take this critical intangible for granted. As Covey makes clear, we do so at our ultimate competitive peril.” Trust is fundamental to how everything operates in the world and it is essential to being an effective leader – to both trust and to be trusted.

To help you decide which books are most relevant to you and your company, we have put together our top 10 leadership books!

  1. ‘Speed of Trust’, Stephen M. R. Covey

‘The Speed of Trust’ offers an unprecedented and practical look at exactly how trust functions in every relationship – from the most personal to the broadest, most indirect interaction – and how to establish trust immediately. Covey breaks down trust into identifiable components which are easy to then work through as a leader.

  1. ‘An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization’, Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Matthew L. Miller, Andy Fleming, Deborah Helsing

‘An Everyone Culture’ demonstrates a whole new way of being at work. It suggests that the culture you create is your strategy, and that the key to success is developing everyone.

  1. ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins

In this book, Collins uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organisation to make the leap from good to great while other organisations remain only good. His findings are rigorously supported by evidence, and often surprising and shocking to the modern reader.

  1. ‘HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Managing Across Cultures’, Harvard Business Review, Jeanne Brett, Yves L. Doz, Erin Meyer, Hal B. Gregersen

This book contains 10 carefully selected Harvard Business Review articles to help you manage culturally diverse employees, whether they’re dispersed around the world or you’re working with a multicultural team in a single location. Put an end to miscommunication and inefficiency and harness the strengths of your diverse team.

  1. ‘What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation’, Gary Hamel

This extensive book contains guidance for building organisations to flourish in a world of diminished hopes, relentless change and ferocious competition. This is not a book about doing better, rather an impassioned plea to reinvent management as we know it to rethink the fundamental assumptions we have about capitalism, organisational life, and the meaning of work.

  1. ‘Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action’, Simon Sinek

In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it and everything starts with the ‘why’! Simon Sinek explains the framework needed for businesses to move past knowing what they do to how they do it, and then to ask the more important question of WHY?

  1. ‘Inspiring Women Leaders’ – Lee Travers

Lee shares the personal stories and wisdom from her interviews with over 100 female and male leaders around the world. They have found their own paths to success and happiness, as they define it, often in the face of adversity.

  1. ‘Talent on Demand: Managing Talent in an Age of Uncertainty’, Peter Cappelli

Cappelli takes a radical new approach to the talent management problem. Drawing from supply chain management and numerous company examples, he presents four new principles for ensuring that your organisation has the skills it needs, when it needs them.

  1. ‘Difficult Conversations (HBR 20-Minute Manager Series)’, Harvard Business Review

“Difficult Conversations” walks you through those unavoidably difficult situations: uncovering the root cause of friction, maintaining a positive mind-set, untangling the problem together, and agreeing on a way forward. The 20 minute manager series contains advice you can quickly read and apply, from the trusted Harvard Business Review.

  1. ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable’, Patrick M. Lencioni

Lencioni presents his ideas in the context of a fictional organisation in a story about a female CEO who is hired to bring together a dysfunctional executive team. The five dysfunctions discussed are absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers”, Harry Truman