15 Best Management Books That Will Make You a Great Leader

Best Management Books That Will Make You a Great Leader

Being a Manager or a leader is not easy. You have to coordinate activities, staff, organize both human and non-human resources, check the progress of a project, plan actions for the future, and lead people. These are key factors in achieving common goals with the best results.

Managers, parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone whose decisions affect people around them, need fundamental skills to accomplish goals with efficiency and effectiveness. These abilities are communication, analysis, technical, diagnosis, and, most essential, leadership.

We recommend 15 best management books that will give you skills to lead an organization, community, or family.

Best Management Books Every Leader Should Read

1. The Essential Drucker, by Peter Drucker

Peter F. Drucker is the Holy Grail of modern management, and all he’s knowledge and the secret of his management school can be found in this book. He worked as a social commentator, educator, consultant, and also analyzed the economy and society for more than 60 years.

This book contains 26 selections, combining business, society, individuality, and management. It covers the basic principles and concerns of management, including its problems, challenges, and opportunities. Therefore, giving managers, executives, and professionals the tools to perform the tasks that the economy and society of tomorrow will demand.

The author focuses on the performance management of a company, how social concerns impact business and skills that every leader must have like “self-control” and “management by objectives” invented by him. The knowledge acquired during more than a half-century is crucial for someone who wants to be a great leader. [1]

2. Drive, by Daniel Pink

The New York Times Best-Seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, is one of the best management books that future leaders must-read.

The author describes that rewards like money or external assets have historically worked. But proposes that using these rewards is an incorrect approach, by depicting the situation if they were removed.

To him, you must develop autonomy, purpose, and mastery if you want to create a lasting behavioral change in your staff and a self-motivated unification for common benefit. This book suggests useful ideas regarding intrinsic motivation. [2]

3. Good to Great, by Jim Collins

Collins and his research team identified a set of elite (good-to-great) companies that made a leap to significant results and sustained those results for at least 15 years. But he also shows how other companies didn’t achieve the same results.

Alongside with his research team, Collins managed to identify a group of premium companies who jumped from good-to-great and remained in that position for almost two decades. But the gold secret of this book consists in how he differentiates the successful ones from the ones that couldn’t make it.

What’s the reason for some companies to make it to the top while others might be similar but still can’t achieve the “greatness”? After a hard study, Collins and his crew discovered that prime secret – why some companies make the leap and others don’t -. These arguments make this text one of the best management books for any leader. Do you want to jump to greatness? [3]

4. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

Reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a life-changing experience. It has been the definitive guide of leaders and CEOs through 25+ years, and it could be your guide to success too. Even parents, teachers, and couches get inspiration from it!

The book presents a step-by-step manual for applying the keys to success in any situation, especially under the frame of 21st Century needs. And, at the same time, it provides the fundamentals to succeed in every aspect of your life. Do you have the seven habits of highly effective people? [4]

5. First, Break All the Rules, by Marcus Buckingham

It’s easy to believe that by now, humanity has already written everything about how leaders can be effective. And maybe it was, but what if was all wrong?  First, Break All the Rules examines the practices used by great managers and divides them from traditional leadership literature.

The author of this book explains on a practical level how managers can find the right employees for the right roles, and keep them satisfied with their jobs. You’ll also find out how to walk the tightrope of allowing employees independence while ensuring the quality of their work, through guidance and control.

Finally, you’ll also find out how to deal with situations where an employee is not performing in line with expectations. [5]

Best Management Books

6. High Output Management by Andrew Grove

In this book, you will find out what the key responsibilities of a manager are and what you need to know about your employees and your role.

You will learn how to collect the information you need to make the right decisions, how to motivate your team, and how to make them perform well. You’ll learn the relationship between management and serving breakfast. Also, you’ll know how to find out quickly whether an employee lacks skill or motivation. Finally, you’ll learn why managers may take a leaf out of a sports coach playbook. [6]

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

 How to Win Friends and Influence People contains excellent guidelines for human relations. The principles in this book are universal and cover the crucial aspects of relationships. To make it easier for readers to apprehend the principles, Carnegie uses convenient stories in each chapter, depicting several situations.

The problem, of course, is that knowing the principles is one thing, but applying them is different. Since most of us have the tendency to be selfish, we need a conscious effort to apply the principles in the book.

That’s why Dale Carnegie positioned this best management book as a workbook that we should refer to from time to time. [7]

8. Start with Why, by Simon Sinek

Start with Why shows that the leaders who’ve been most influential in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way. A way that totally differs from what others do. That’s how The Golden Circle – how Sinek calls it – is born.

It proposes a scheme that can be followed for all sorts of purposes, be it building a company or leading a movement, or just inspiring someone. And can you guess what all is about? Yes, it’s about WHY.

The book depicts how people like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers didn’t have much in common. But even so, they all managed to succeed thanks to that simple question: WHY? What all these characters realized and now Sinek explains in his book, is that people believe in the idea behind things, more than they do in plans, speeches, etc. So, if you want to know WHY and motivate those around you, then you need this book! [8]

 Jocko Willink and Leif Babin are two navy SEALs, coming from the most highly decorated unit in the Iraqi war. From these months on combat and the experiences they lived, their whole team managed to learn the most crucial factor on the front line leadership.

But what does leadership mean in terms of a SEAL soldier? Those are the concepts explained in this book alongside with heartbreaking stories of how they helped the soldiers survive and accomplish their missions. But that’s not it! The authors also extrapolate the concepts to regular teams and groups. [9]

According to the authors, the reader will face the truth of achieving success in combat. This is a mind-changing perspective that can lead anyone to positive results. In one of the best management books in history, the reader will discover how to win the war of life!

10. The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell

What this book is about is presenting the positive side of people and how we all can become a better version of ourselves. The approach points out that what makes a leader a true leader is not being eager to correct their mistaken subordinates. Instead, leadership consists of inspiring them to go beyond what they’re.

Then, the personnel would return the favor to such leaders and their companies. How? By increasing performance, reducing mistakes, and having a sense of belonging, which may show their own leadership potential. According to Maxwell, the leader has the responsibility to choose the right staff. These concepts are leveled in Maxwell’s book, making it a stairway to success. If becoming a top-skilled leader is what you want, then this book is for you! [10]

11. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is now considered the Bible of team recruiting and building. It includes all the essential information to understand why the teams fail and how to gather all the necessary pieces for a successful group.

The impact of this best management book extends not only to business, but further in many fields of life, including school classes, church communities, and even soldiers and athletes.

This book outlines the causes of the main difficulties that teamwork represents and the keys to overcoming them. Even if it’s hard to believe, in this book, the reader can find how to identify and CURE these difficulties. Leoncini punctuates that this process will take its time, though. In the end, the levels of discipline and courage anyone needs to follow these guidelines are significant and hard to achieve. Do you have what it takes? [11]

12. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

In simple words, what Goleman explores in his book are those cases where geniuses fail, and average or shorted-minded people exceed expectations. The central idea is that these factors are not related to the regular kind of intelligence, but instead, emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is related to controlling our emotions and impulses, plus many other and more complex feelings.

The author demonstrates how failing on this kind of intelligence can impact in several ways both our relationships and our health. In the end, what he shows is the reason why we see so many brilliant minds get lost and ruin their careers and futures. [12]

13. Tribes, by Seth Godin

 “A tribe is any group of people – large or small -, connected to one another, a leader, and an idea” That’s the concept that Godin manages in this book. What he demonstrates is that people have been gathering in this kind of tribe ever since the first centuries of humanity. These gatherings are not only in ethnic or religious frames but also in much more modern culture such as fandoms. These modern tribes happen thanks to mass media such as the TV and the internet.

Then, he clarifies the underlying truth about the web. As much information as it can provide, leadership, creativity, and this kind of attributes can only come from passionate people. What’s even more crucial, Tribes depict how this passion can come from anyone and that making a difference is possible if they use their tools right.

Tribes will make you think about the opportunities of leadership you might be missing in your field, give the next step with this best management book! [13]

management books to read

14. The Truth About Leadership by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

30 years of leadership research encompassed in one book. That’s what Kouzes and Posner bring with a clear development of the fundamentals of practicing leadership.

In The truth about leadership, the authors gather, precisely, only the proven principles of leadership, which have been applied for the top characters of our history. This includes everything a person needs to know to think and act as a leader until they become one.

Know all the basic principles that have endured the pass of time and that hold part of what it’s to be a leader, even today. If what you’re looking for the best management book to know the secrets of leaders of history, then this is the one to go! [14]

15. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

This book is for those who want to feel their work matters and want to inspire others to feel the same. The author explains why some teams trust each other, while others are doomed to failure, even when incentives are offered.

His analysis is that great leaders leave for last their comfort – even their own life – for the good of their underlings. Simon Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that traverse all sorts of leading situations, including battlefields, business, and politics, among others. [15]

We summarized some of the best management books to give you a hint of where to start up, but there are a lot of management books for each case.

From this list, you can link to the ones that fit your situation and form the criteria of your own leadership.

Do you have some other books in mind? Share your experiences and learning in our comments section, we can help each other become leaders!


You May Also Like