10 Best Books on Effective Leadership in the Workplace

effective leadership books

Whether you are a leader or a follower, we all need a good book on effective leadership. The list of books below is a curated list based on my own journey in the corporate world. Navigating the waters of being a team member to becoming a manager of over 75 people almost overnight. While the books themselves have great lessons, they are not effective until and unless you IMPLEMENT them into your life. This list a mix of my favorite authors and one funny and silly read at the end of the list.


1. The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger

Who doesn’t like anything Disney? And hats off to Bob Iger for his 20 years of service that made Disney what it is today. To be a man of such caliber, you’d think he was like any one of those corporate exes. No. He is a man of good morales and ethics, which is reflected in this book. The book describes how effective leadership doesn’t have to be harsh or cutthroat. Iger shows how respect, courage and fairness (among other things) is the recipe for a successful leader and a successful career.

My rating: 9.8/10

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey

Effective leadership starts with effective people. The author details how to recognize your effective team members and how to get the best out of them. Covey teaches the principles of effective leadership that translate from your professional life into your personal life too.

My rating: 9.5/10

3. Leadershift by John C. Maxwell

Always love a good John C. Maxwell book. Although biased, the reason this book is on here is because it is not just a book but a guide to the 11 shifts in your leadership style, that need to happen for innovation and change to happen around you. While a lot of not-so-great leaders will want change to happen with their teams, they don’t realize that change needs to happen with them first. We all look up to leaders to show us the way. The author describes these shifts that not only impact our leadership but how we lead our personal lives as well.

My rating: 9.7/10

4. The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey

Another great read by Covey on effective leadership. The only reason anyone will listen to someone else is because the trust them. And what’s a more apt setting that being in a career where there is hierarchy. We all know how it is to work for someone you don’t trust. Oh, not you? Well then I speak for myself. When leaders are not able to be honest with you about everything (not just selective things), you lose trust. That loss in trust is a snowball into ineffective management and ultimately failure. The author details how to bring authenticity into your teams and build trust that ultimately transforms your teams performance.

My rating: 9.6/10

5. The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod

You’d think this book was a book on spirituality and not effective leadership. But, it’s kinda both. As with other Hal Elrod books, this book is a lesson on unwavering faith. How we can transform our lives to experience the miracles we want. But the key to those miracles lies within you and not out in the world. He teaches you to address failure in a very simple but effective way, and then move on. Not only is this book insightful and uplifting, the lessons are easy to understand and implement right now!

My rating: 9.8/10

Related: 5 Books on Spirituality

6. The One-Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

If you’re like me, you hate reading through documents and documents of boring strategies and process flows that just don’t work. This book is not that. The authors’ equip managers with 3 tools that take one minute to implement. These tools are about goals, praise, and reprimand that can all be done in less than a minute. If you’re a manager with a crazy schedule and don’t have much time for your team – this is your answer. Read this book and utilize the tools to catapult you into someone with effective leadership skills.

My rating: 9.3/10

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

There is a reason why this book on effective leadership is listed on every good book review. It’s. That. Good. Dale Carnegie’s stories and recounts are relevant today as when he wrote this book many, many years ago. His focus is on your soft skills and how you can change to not only become a good leader, but a good negotiator and motivator. Win-win.

My rating: 9.7/10

8. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Why do we all want to become effective leaders? Why do we think we need effective leadership? To be successful, so that we can be happy, right? Wrong. The book tells us that we’ve got that wrong the whole time. And the flip side of it is true. We need to be happy first, and that will translate not only into effective leadership, but being effective in our daily lives too, and then we can call it success. Achor details the power of positive psychology. It truly is the happiness advantage.

My rating: 9.4/10

9. The Coffee Bean by Jon Gordon and Damon West

Let’s caveat this one. For all you Jon Gordon lovers, this book is not like his others. It’s more of a Damon West book sprinkled with a little JG. However a quick read, this book gives the reader a overall picture of effective leadership by transforming your outter world by becoming positive. If you’re just starting out in your career, this could be your first book to jump start you into all the other books listed in this post.

My rating: 8.5/10

10. Crazy Bosses by Stanley Bing

Okay so this one is in here coz we can’t be serious all the time. The book is a fun read on a lot of well – crazy bosses. While we cannot all have the perfect boss (or can we?), we can see how this is such an unfortunate normalcy. For me this book was funny and therapeutic making me realize I’m not crazy for thinking my boss is nuts. This is basically a book not on effective leadership, but ineffective management. Ultimately, focusing so much on being successful while tearing your team down, will come back to bite you. #karma

My rating:  No scale on this one, just “Fun to Read”

In Conclusion

These are great books to read and refer back to when you’ve lost your way on how to implement effective leadership in your career. Of course when you need some therapy, number 10 is a great fun read. Hopefully you get to read and digest these lessons and personal development skills to become a more effective leader.

Featured photo courtesy of unsplash.com

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