The best leaders are learners. There are two ways to learn: through direct experience, and through other people’s experience. Books are an amazingly efficient way to distil other people’s insights. A book that took the author many months to write, after many years of experience and processing, will take only a few hours to read. That’s an incredible return of wisdom for time invested. With that in mind, here are books for leadership influence that are worthy of your precious attention.

Leadership Book 1: The Loudest Guest – How to change and control your relationship with fear by Dr Amy Silver

Psychologist Dr Amy Silver unpacks all the juiciness of fear: why it dominates our thinking, sidelines our goals, and gets in our way, all to keep us safe. She offers a step by step approach to recognise and reframe our experience. The steps include: Recognition, Self Compassion, Separation, Evaluation, Decision, and Experimentation.

You might recognise fear running you in these kinds of ways:

  • Saying yes or taking too much on
  • Trying to please others
  • Habitual avoidance
  • And even FOMO – fear of missing out

Self Compassion is one of the nicest steps in the process. Much better than ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ or ‘smashing through fear’.

Amy’s book is a lovely, warm journey through fear, with stories from others about how they have met and spoken to their loudest fear voice, finding a gentle way through.

Leadership Book 2: Magnetic Stories – Connect with customers and engage employees with brand storytelling by Gabrielle Dolan

This leadership book is easy and delightful; to read. Why? It’s mostly stories, of course! Ral makes her points come to life with great example stories for the five types of brand stories every business needs: creation stories, culture stories, customer stories, challenge stories, and community stories.

Ral’s witty asides in footnotes and commentary just makes this book fun as well as useful. She includes practical questions and steps to get going with your own business stories.

Book 3: Service Habits – Small steps to strengthen the relationships with people you serve by Jaquie Scammel

As Jaquie reminds us, all business is about relationships. Customer service is the key ingredient for this. The book takes us through 27 keystone habits, all excellent for leadership empathy. Mindfulness is one of the first initial habits: it brings our full attention to others and helps us from being disconnected (and rude). Many of the habits are a deep dive into emotional intelligence. I felt like a better human for having read the book.

What books are you reading right now? How are you honing your leadership attributes and skills?