A developing leader is someone who has been leading for 5 or more years. They don’t have to be any type of age, gender, race or anything else, they are a person who has invested 5 or more years into intentionally and positively influencing others toward a desired future. Experience is what differentiates a developing leader from an emerging leader.
One challenge every developing leader faces, is what and who to read. So this list, of the Top 20 Books Every Developing Leader Should Read, is a resource for those of you who are looking to upscale, sharpen the sword, stretch their understanding and deepen their knowledge about leading people. Please feel free to share this list with anyone you think might be helped by it. If you can think of any other books that should be on this list, I’d love to know about them in the comments below.
1. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
This is Hybel’s most comprehensive writing on leadership, covering a large range of leadership material in a passionate and emotive manner. He campaigns for the importance of leaders leading in the church and cheers them on.
2. Leading Change by John Kotter
Published by Harvard Business School, this book is the standard on how to do managerial change management well. If you are looking to change things in your ministry, organisation or workplace, consult this book first. It’s simply structured and very insightful.
3. Culture Shift by Robert Lewis and Wayne Cordeiro
Speaking from a church leader perspective and wanting to convey the importance of culture, Lewis and Cordeiro offer a great exploration into culture and how a leader can use it to achieve great things.
4. Visioneering by Andy Stanley
This book is a comprehensive exploration into developing a vision and seeing it come to its fruition. It begins with the basics and leads you through the potential complexity vision can create. If developing or casting a vision is the crossroads you’re at, get this book.
5. Developing The Leaders Around You by John C Maxwell
This book will help you lead other leaders. If that is what you are about to do, or are struggling to do, read it! You’ll be equipped with where to start, how to navigate this difficult journey and how to excel at what you’ve been called to do.
6. Good To Great by Jim Collins
Jim Collins is the premiere business writer since Peter Druker. His work is brilliant and helpful to any leader, and this book is a must for any leader wanting to familiarise themselves with a broader range of leadership thought. The book introduces you to many well-used management and leadership strategies and tools with solid research to back it up.
7. Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby
This book powerfully brings together spirituality and leadership. It is a wonderful book and one I would recommend every leader to read. The Blackaby brothers put Christ in the centre of leadership.
8. A Life Of Integrity by Howard Hendricks
Hendricks draws on some of the greatest Christian leaders of this day to explore integrity – a vital aspect of leadership. For a wide and deep look into integrity, from a plethora of very qualified authors and leaders, this book is for you.
9. Humilitas by John Dickson
Dickson tracks the impact of Jesus’ humility on the world’s history and reveals the profound impact Jesus had. He looks at how influential the impact of Jesus’ life has been on nearly all aspects of our society that we hold dear today.
10. The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership by John Maxwell
This was the book that established John Maxwell as a leadership guru. In this book, he looks at 21 laws of how leadership works and explores them in an easy and accessible way. It too belongs on the book shelf of every leader.
11. A Resilient Life by Gordon MacDonald
MacDonald writes from his vast experience of church pastoring to share how he developed resilience over the years. His writes from his own life and experience and offers some grandfatherly conviction that will stir your soul toward developing resilience.
12. The Making of a Leader by Robert Clinton
Bobby Clinton, as he’s affectionately known, is a leader of leaders. For years he has been leading leaders and studying leadership. This work is profound and a very helpful overview of the entire life cycle of a leader. Clinton writes so that people might know what to expect and focus on achieving all that they are positioned to.
13. The Power Of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr & tony Schwartz
This book is the best book I’ve read on energy management. It’s from an organisation who have invested themselves in helping people perform at maximum levels in a sustainable rhythm. Every leader who wants to be energised over the next 50 years should read this book and do what it says.
14. Celebration Of Discipline by Richard Foster
Foster names 13 disciplines and then superbly and with great conviction walks you through how to develop these inner disciplines and entrench them into your life. His work is the book to go to when investigating spiritual disciplines.
15. The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell
Leading up as well as across and down in an organisation is a valuable skill to develop. This introductory work to the idea is very practical and amongst it’s pages explores the complexities of leading those leaders above you well.
16. Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
This simple yet brilliant book on change management makes how people think, decide and act so clear, and offers very insight full ways to lead them in light of this. Using easy to grasp metaphors and based on great research it’s an enjoyable and insightful read.
17. Boundaries For Leaders by Henry Cloud
In this very informative and insightful read, Dr. Henry Cloud combines his knowledge of human behavior, business leadership, and neuroscience to help executives lead effectively, build organizational culture, develop strong teams, and get results from themselves and others.
18. Manage Your Day-To-Day by Jocelyn K. Glei
This book is so practical and so brilliant. Editor Jocelyn K. Glei invites a number of world renowned experts to share their productivity ideas, so as to help the reader get the most out of everyday by arranging their day in the most effective manner. The chapters are short and hard hitting and the collective wisdom is outstanding.
19. Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
Susan Scott is the master teacher of positive change through powerful communication, and she wants her readers to succeed. To do that, she explains, one must transform everyday conversations employing effective ways to get the message across. this book is an excellent resource which addresses the conversations both big and small you constantly find yourself in.
20. Love Works by Joel Manby
In Love Works, Joel Manby introduces us to the power of Christlike love in the workplace. Manby has proven that leading with love is effective, even in a business environment. He challenges leaders to allow integrity and faith to guide leadership decisions, outlining seven time-proven principles that break down the natural walls within corporate cultures, empowering managers and employees, disarming difficulties, and cultivating an atmosphere that builds long-term success.
If you can think of any other books that should be on this list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , I’d love to know about them.