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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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