I picked up a habit years ago based on advice given to me as a college student.

“Leaders are readers”

 These words were permanently etched into my mind, and I’ve been trying to live by them ever since.

Here are a few books that have kept me company in the early winter hours in January when the house was cold and quiet and no one else is stirring.

Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

 small-giants

This book was a huge affirmation of the choices I made to do business my way and not to just follow the standard ideas that have gone on before me.  It outlines several companies that have chosen to stay small or to grow very slowly and deliberately for the sake of maintaining their love for their business and the reasons for which it was created. Included in those reasons are quality of life, freedom to create, providing value to the community and creating a work environment that supports families and generates long term loyalty and success.  Making money is a given in all these equations.  The means or pathway by which that money is made varies from company to company.

Quiet by Susan Cain

quiet susan cain

As an introvert, I feel easily misunderstood for my need of solitude.  What can appear as me being aloof and anti-social is merely a genuine need to retreat into my mind to sort out thoughts and prepare for future action.  My introvert soul needs lots of time to think and process.  Some people prefer thinking out loud by talking matters through.  This explains why some people can start a conversation defending one position, and by the time the conversation is over, is defending another counter position.  They formulate thoughts and change their mind by hearing themselves speak.  The introvert has the same conversation.  The difference is the dialogue is internal, not verbal.   This simple difference of the needs of introverts and extroverts can lead to keen understanding in relationships and how to be a better leader with the two different temperaments.

Emotional Equations by Chip Conley

emotional

The leader is the emotional thermostat of the organization.  Leadership guards more than just the security of the business’ profits.  It seeks to guard and protect the emotional temperature of the room.  Conley conveys the importance of self-awareness in keeping this temperature.  “Emotional fluency is the ability to sense, translate and effectively apply the power of emotions in a healthy and productive manner.”

Leadership Conversations by Alan Bergson and Richard Stiedlitz

Leadership-Conversations-Book-Image

The shift from management to leadership is one that must be nurtured and developed.  Knowing how to assist this transition is referred to as a leadership conversation.  Much of what a great leaders do is is to connect and align with others personally.  This is best done through conversations, often many conversations, and certainly face to face, not through email or other digital means.

These are not paid endorsements or sponsorship’s, just simple recommendations that have helped my thinking and personal development as a leader.

Leaders are readers