How to Be a Constructive and Effective Leader

A business is only as good as its leader. Check out 8 books that illuminate the secrets of great leadership.

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5-minute read

While the world of business is evolving at a faster rate than ever before, this contemporary market needs an equally adaptable leader.

Here are 8 great books from bestselling authors who have gathered the most constructive and effective leadership strategies that make a real difference. Use these lessons to become the best leader you can be:


Quick and Nimble

Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation

by Adam Bryant

Adam Bryant draws on interviews with more than 200 CEOs to offer business leaders the wisdom and guidance to move an organization faster, to be quick and nimble, and to rekindle the whatever-it-takes collective spark of a start-up, all with the goal of innovating and thriving in a relentlessly challenging global economy.

By analyzing the lessons that these leaders have shared in his regular "Corner Office” feature in The New York Times, Bryant has identified the biggest drivers of corporate culture, bringing them to life with real-world examples that reflect this hard-earned wisdom.

Available for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple


Predictive Leadership

Predictive Leadership: Avoiding the 12 Critical Mistakes That Derail Growth-Hungry Companies

by Kirk Dando

Dando, known in leadership circles as the "Company Whisperer," has encounted every type of obstacle as a C-level executive in a high-growth billion-dollar business. At each stage of growth, natural problems are glossed over in the scramble to expand, making the organization vulnerable to chaos, no matter how strong or expert its leaders.

Dando calls these roadblocks the "12 Warning SIgns of Success," and has helped leaders across industries predict, prepare, and avoid them at every state of growth. Predictive Leadership is rich with real-world stories, prescriptive advice on how to scale your business and limit the drama so you can unlock the growth and success you desire.

Available for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple


The Elements of Mentoring

The Elements of Mentoring

by W. Brad Johnson and Charles R. Ridley

Patterned after Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style, this new edition concisely summarizes the substantial existing research on the art and science of mentoring. The Elements of Mentoring reduces this wealth of published material on the topic to the 65 most important and pithy truths for supervisors in all fields.

These explore what excellent mentors do, what makes an excellent mentor, how to set up a successful mentor-protégé relationship, how to work through problems that develop between mentor and protégé, what it means to mentor with integrity, and how to end the relationship when it has run its course. Succinct and comprehensive, this is a must-have for any mentor or mentor-to-be.

Available for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble


The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success

The Synergist

by Les McKeown

Wall Street Journal bestselling author and speaker Les McKeown reveals why so many teams fail to perform, and how to ultimately take any team from gridlock to world class success. Every successful team includes a critical player, the Synergist, who can take the 3 existing types - Visionaries, Operators, and Processors - and knit them together into a dynamic, well-rounded team.

Most importantly, McKeown stresses, the Synergist is a role that anyone can learn. He has used these techniques in his consulting with Harvard University, American Express, the US Army, Pella Corporation, Microsoft, and more to show how anyone can learn to be an effective Synergist by recognizing the vital signs of inneffective teamwork and making the right interventions at these pivotal moments.

Available for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple


The Fall of the Alphas: The New Beta Way to Connect, Collaborate, Influence — and Lead

The Fall of The Alphas

by Dana Ardi

The Fall of the Alphas explores the sweeping changes taking place in the corporate and social cultures of today's most successful organizations. Utilizing years of advising companies of all sizes, hypergrowth start-ups to Fortune 500 company management teams, Dana Ardi identifies a pivotal evolutionary moment in the decline of the traditional Alpha-model: the top-down, corner-office hierarchy that has ruled organizational landscapes for so long.

Replacing this structure is the new Beta organization: a workplace promoting collaboration, connectivity, and the sharing of power. Gone is the authoritarian and in comes the team player, sage advisor and communications facilitator to forge the new paradigm for success in today's challenging market. With insight and practical guidance, Dana Ardi shows how any business organization or team can re-organize from Alpha to Beta—and be more effective, flexible, and profitable

Availble for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple


Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over — and Collaboration Is In

Nice Companies Finish First

by Peter Shankman with Karen Kelly

The era of authoritarian cowboy CEOs like Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca is over. In an age of increasing transparency and access, it just doesn’t pay to be a jerk—to employees, customers, competitors, or anyone else. In Nice Companies Finish First, Shankman, a pioneer in modern PR, marketing, advertising, social media, and customer service, profiles the famously nice executives, entrepreneurs, and companies that are setting the standard for success in this new collaborative world.

He explores the new hallmarks of effective leadership, including loyalty, optimism, humility, and a reverence for customer service, and shows how leaders like Jet Blue’s Dave Needleman, Ken Chenault of Amex, and the team behind Patagonia harness these traits to build productive, open, and happy workplaces for the benefit of their employees, themselves, and the bottom line.

Available for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple


The Objective Leader: How to Leverage the Power of Seeing Things As They Are

The Objective Leader

by Elizabeth Thornton

We are all subjective — it's human nature. We overreact to situations; we judge people too quickly and unfairly; we take something personally when it was not really meant that way. As a result, we lose relationships, reputation, money, and peace of mind.

To succeed, we must consciously seek to increase our objectivity — seeing and accepting things as they are without projecting our mental models, fears, background, and personal experiences onto them. In The Objective Leader, Thornton draws on her original research, as well as her years of experience as a manager and entrepreneur, to offer proven strategies for identifying limiting and unproductive ways of thinking and creating powerful new mental models that ensure continued success.

Available for pre-order at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple


The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed

The Corner Office

by Adam Bryant

What does it take to reach the top in busines and to inspire others? Adam Bryant of The New York Times answers this and other questions by sitting down with more than 70 CEOs and asking them how they do their jobs and the most important lessons they learned as they rose through the ranks.

The Corner Office draws together lessons from chief executives such as Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Carol Bartz (Yahoo), Jeffrey Katzenberg (DreamWorks), and Alan Mulally (Ford), from which Bryant has crafted an original work revealing the keys to success in the business world as well as the five essential personality traits that all high performers exhibit — qualities that the CEOs themselves value most and that separate the rising stars from their colleagues.

Bryant demystifies the art of leadership and shows how executives at the top of their game get the most out of others.

Available for purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple