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April 5, 2022

The 14 Best Books on Leading People and Developing Great Culture

By Craig Groeschel

Developing great culture isn’t difficult, but it does take intentionality.

As a leader, your culture is a combination of what you create and what you allow.

These 14 books will help you lead your team well and build a world-class culture. In no particular order ...

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

This book is first on the list because it blazed the trail for so many other leadership and personal development books that came after. Originally published in 1936, the insights in this book are still hyper-relevant today.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to.

Find the book here.

2. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink, Leif Babin

As a leader, before you ever give blame, you have to take ownership.

Adopting Extreme Ownership will help you build credibility and high-performance processes with your team, your leaders, and your family.

Find the book here.

3. Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well – Sheila Heen, Douglas Stone

Few things impact an organization more than a leader’s willingness to seek and receive feedback.

This is so core to our culture that we’ve made this book mandatory reading for every new staff member at Life.Church.

Find the book here.

4. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life – Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend

Healthy, intentional boundaries will help you build relationships you actually enjoy.

Find the book here.

5. The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact – Chip Heath, Dan Heath

A moment can create a ripple effect that lasts a lifetime. If you haven’t yet, I’d strongly recommend listening to my interview with Chip about The Power of Moments here.

Find the book here.

Want more on building great culture? Here at Life.Church, I’ve worked alongside Jerry Hurley for more than 20 years as we’ve built a strong, value-driven culture. Under his guidance, we’ve been honored to win best workplace awards from Gallup and Glassdoor. Jerry and I talk through our best culture-building strategies in this episode of my leadership podcast.

6. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

Teams do not drift toward health by accident. They are steered toward strength on purpose. More on that in my discussion with Pat here.

Make no mistake: these five dysfunctions are coming for your team. With this book, Pat helps you anticipate and avoid them.

Find the book here.

7. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman

Almost all personal development comes from self-awareness. Mastering Emotional Intelligence plays a big part in helping you become a more self-aware and healthy leader.

Find the book here.

8. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t – Simon Sinek

You never accidentally stumble into having a great team. You intentionally build one. Leaders Eat Last shows you how.

Find the book here.

9. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg

Your organization doesn’t become stronger by what you do. Your organization becomes stronger by who you empower.

This book will help anyone better understand the challenges female leaders face and become a champion of the female leaders around you. Don’t miss this book.

Find the book here.

10. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business – Patrick Lencioni

The claims Pat makes in this book are bold but true. As a leader, one of the best things you can invest your time and energy in is your team’s culture.

Find the book here.

11. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter – Liz Wiseman

When your team wins, your whole organization wins. This book will help you lead your entire team to growth and success.

Find the book here.

12. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek

Leading with “why” disarms critics, educates bystanders, and empowers advocates. Starting with Why is a critical tool in any leader’s toolbelt.

Find the book here.

13. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High – Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, Emily Gregory

If you want a world-class team and culture, you need to be world class at giving and receiving feedback.

Feedback conversations are one of the many hard but absolutely critical tools you’ll need to embrace as a leader. This book will help.

Find the book here.

14. The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues – Patrick Lencioni

This is the third time I’ve featured Pat on this list. When it comes to team culture, every one of his titles is a winner.

Find the book here.

44 Leadership Books Every Leader Needs to Read

This post is part two of a four-part series covering the 44 best leadership books every leader needs to read.

Part 1: The 13 Best Books for Building Great Habits and Achieving Your Goals

Part 3: The 7 Best Books on Creativity, Innovation, and Writing Great Content

Part 4: The 10 Best Books to Strengthen Your Leadership and Grow Your Organization

This list is far from complete. These 44 will get you well on your way to being a world-class leader, but there are more I could include.

Sharpen Your Leadership in a Changing World (Three Free Trainings)

Leadership is influence—and you are a leader. That’s why it’s critical you keep sharpening your leadership.

I’d love to help.

When I look at all of the podcasts and principles I’ve worked on, three stand out. These trainings will help you build a strong leadership foundation—both personally and professionally.

Learn practical ways to influence people, manage your time wisely, and communicate better. You can get the three-part series here for free!

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