Leadership is an interesting concept.
The very word “leadership”, depends on others following… Pretty self explanatory, I know.
But think about this – Not only must a leader help others progress in their journey, a leader must be in a state of progress themselves. After all, who wants to follow a boring and/or stagnant leader? No one! (Is it even possible to “follow” someone who’s stagnant? Like, how does one oject in motion follow another stationary oject?)
So what’s the answer?
First, we need to embrace the fact that progress is a MUST… For many of us, this means dispelling the notion that we’ve got the world pretty much figured out… That xpelling energy to go out and expose ourselves to new ideas and information that will then force us to react in some way (growth, re-thinking previously held beliefs or habits etc…) is simply not worth it.
After we realize our need for progress, we need to get engaged.
There’s clarity available to anyone willing to become engaged… And becoming engaged can be as easy as picking up a great book.
This post covers 5 books that I’ve read recently. They range from one about focussing on a singular, big goal, to another about rethinking almoast everything you know about effective habbits in business. All 5 are great, but I’d challenge you to pick one most likely to challenge your beliefs. The one that seems most out of the ordinary for your circle or industry.
I believe that exposing yourself to different types of thinking gives you a tremendous advantage in business. By going places and thinking thoughts that your competitors don’t, you’ll inevitably expand your worldview beyond the “norm” for your industry. This quote says it well:
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
So let us begin!
Jason Fried and David Heinemeirer Hansson
If there was a book written by the employees of “Office Space”, this would be it.
What’s REWORK all about? The simplest answer would be challenging the norms embraced in many, if not most, companies today. As seen on the book’s website here, REWORK the potential stupidity of:
- conference calls
- staying late because it’s the unsaid expectation
- mission statements that mean NOTHING
- interruptions that kill productivity
- the fallacy of the “real world”
And it’s amazing.
REWORK is all about getting rid of tasks that don’t produce value, focussing on only what has meaning instead. The big idea is using your time to make something great happen. Not on TPS reports. Key areas of focus include:
- building an audience
- starting before you have a perfect (anything)
- focusing on solving one problem at a time
- “out-teaching” your competition
In short, (and it is short… about 2 1/2 hours to read) it’s an amazing book that I’d recommend to just about anyone.
Many people don’t think of Vulnerability as a strength. Or a necessary quality in a leader.
In Daring Greatly, however, Brené Brown makes an insanely strong case that vulnerability is paramount to leading others. This is backed up by Brown’s exploration of the many facets of leadership and relationship that are directly dependent on our ability to be vulnerable with one another. She makes no bones about it – Vulnerability is not easy. It’s perhaps the most difficult thing we can do in most situations. Yet it’s completely worth it, and after reading “Daring Greatly”, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for both vulnerability (in business, and life-in-general), as well as Brené’s amazing writing ability. This unique combination makes Daring Greatly a perfect summer read.
The ONE Thing
Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
This book challenges the status quo – Similar to REWORK. In The ONE Thing, Keller and Papasan bring the hammer down on common business and productivity misconceptions. Some examples include: Everything matters equally, multitasking, just picking yourself up by the bootstraps, and the idea of unlimited willpower…
After they’re through demolishing everything you thought you knew about getting things done, the authors craft a compelling and easy to understand path towards finding focus, purpose, and priority in your day to day life. Key principles include the Pareto principle (80/20 rule), habit formation, finding what matters most, purpose/priority/productivity.
To summarize, The ONE Thing is all about helping you find your one thing. Accomplishing this relies on eliminating false beliefs and habits that are getting in the way, and focusing on the most important goal you have, one focussed step at a time.
If you’re short on motivation, resourcefulness, or grit, this is the book for you.
In just 6 years, Sophia Amoruso managed to turn a fledgling Ebay clothing store into a multimillion online retailer, labeled “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012 by INC magazine. As you might imagine, getting from A to B in this journey might be just a bit challenging.
What makes this book unique (besides an awesome rags to riches story, which everyone loves… I mean… ‘Merca right?) is how Sophia outlines the core areas of focus she used to accomplish so much success. It’s particularly interesting to read, because the values she writes about are, for the most part, available to us all. Things like being frugal, thinking positively, the importance of creativity, and the realities of hiring/firing, etc…
Overall, a super practical, and very entertaining read. Great for young entrepreneurs to see how it’s done, and equally awesome for older leaders to better understand the millennial generation they’re managing.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Developing your leadership ability is all about progress. Living a better story. Finding deeper meaning in what you do, then transferring it to others.
If any of this is true, and you want to be a better leader, you’ll want to read this book.
Following the release of his memoir, “Blue Like Jazz“, Donald Miller gets the opportunity to tell the story of his life in a screenplay. As the process unfolds however, Donald’s story ends up being drastically altered to form a more meaningful and interesting story… Making his real life look even more boring than it did before this whole process started.
Ultimately, this experience led Donald Miller to re-evaluate the way he had been living… What if he could infuse the same principles the screenwriters used to make the screenplay, and make them a reality in his life?
This is the essence of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Living with meaning. Living a better story.
For the leaders reading this – Do we desire that our employees lead a better life, a better story? Then we need to lead by example.
To bold leadership ya’ll!