With so many great books being published every year, it’s hard to know which ones are worth your time. And, of course, sometimes the best books on a topic aren’t new at all—but they may be new to you. So I decided to do a quick round up of my three favorite leadership books and ask five friends of SmallGroups.com to weigh in as well. These books are perfect to help you grow as you lead or to use with your team. You’ll find both new books and classics. To start us off, here are three of my favorite leadership books:
From the first moment I heard Wiseman speak at the Global Leadership Summit years ago, I was entranced. She made a very simple statement that immediately resonated with me: some leaders are multipliers and others are diminishers. Put another way, some leaders multiply the talent on their team by empowering and releasing their teammates, while other leaders diminish the talent by controlling and micromanaging their teammates. That’s a stark difference. But Wiseman doesn’t stop there. She actually writes about how to become a multiplier—and it’s easier than you might think. Her newly updated edition also includes an important chapter on the “accidental diminisher.” After all, who thinks they’re the bad guy? So Wiseman gently explains how you can spot diminisher qualities in yourself. Based on research, Wiseman finds that multipliers are able to get two times the results from their team. In ministry, we’re always looking for ways to maximize our resources. Don’t overlook the importance of maximizing your biggest resource: your teammates.
To be honest, I found this book because I experienced an emotionally unhealthy leader who was burning up teammates left and right. I wanted to know that there was another way to lead. I’d read Emotionally Healthy Spirituality years before, and I wondered how the principles might apply directly to leadership. I deeply appreciate what Scazzero writes about knowing yourself well so you can handle others’ emotions well, creating realistic and life-giving boundaries, and building a healthy team culture. Plus I love that he brings attention to leading well as a single person—a topic few leadership books tackle, especially in the Christian world. Take the test (republished from the end of the book) to see where you stand on emotionally healthy leadership.
This is a favorite of mine to use with teams. Discovering my top five strengths gave me words to describe some of the work I enjoy most (like the strength called Activator—basically, having a knack for getting others motivated and acting on goals). It also gave me instant understanding of why I sometimes felt frustrated with my teammates. When discussing next steps, the path forward always seemed clear to me, I couldn’t understand why my teammates didn’t see it—until I discovered my strengths (I was the only one with the Strategy strength—the ability to find a way through when there doesn’t seem to be a path). Using the book with new teammates gives me immediate feedback about what aspects of our team they may excel at. Currently, my team has a chart highlighting each person’s strengths posted prominently so we can see how we how together we cover a lot more strengths than any one of us alone.