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Top 10 Books on Leadership to Read to Become a Better Leader

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26th Mar, 2023
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Top 10 Books on Leadership to Read to Become a Better Leader

A company’s success is the product of the value it is providing to the customers and the can-do attitude of its founder. Many a time, investors bet on the entrepreneur rather than on the product. The charisma of a leader is enough proof for a potential investor regarding the company’s success. This is why it is easy for a company with an able leader to secure fundings. Leadership is an essential trait for the managers in the company as well. Hence, companies organise leadership programmes for them so that they can contribute to the organisation. 8% of all organisations spend more than INR 7,61,775 per year per person on leadership development while 6% spend between INR 5,33,365 and INR 7,61,775.

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What is Leadership?

Leadership is the art of leading a group of people in a common direction in order to achieve the desired goals. Contrary to popular belief, being in a higher position does not give you more power; instead, it instils more responsibility. One who realises this and considers himself a part of the team makes an excellent leader. A leader pushes people to perform better, appreciates them for their efforts, and reprimands them for their inefficiencies. In short, a leader ensures that the team members perform to the best of their capacity.

Qualities of a Good Leader-

1. Negotiation-

Good leaders are generally great negotiators. Being in authority brings many responsibilities. Leaders have to deal with people outside of their team, such as government authorities, members of the board, etc. To align all of their interests with the organisation’s interests, they need to have good negotiation skills. This is the only way to find a middle ground and ensure the timely completion of tasks. You can read books to enhance your negotiation skills. “Negotiating the Nonnegotiable” is one of the best books on negotiation, which you can refer to.

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2. Listening-

Leaders have to be great listeners too. They should always have an ear for their team’s concerns. Employees or team members should always feel comfortable sharing their issues with their leader, who should have an unbiased outlook. This facilitates a two-way communication system which ensures efficiency of the team.

3. Critical Thinking-

Any organisation is bound to suffer from emergencies and strict deadlines from time to time. In those cases, it becomes the responsibility of the leader to lead the team and ensure the timely completion of tasks. Leaders have to devise new strategies to tackle these problems and maintain the calm and composure of the team. Hence, critical thinking is a necessary quality that a leader must-have.

4. Emotional Intelligence-

This is an important quality which impacts the organisational environment positively. Emotional intelligence is necessary for a leader to maintain relationships with employees, communicate with them, and motivate them to perform better. You can refer to “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ”, by David Goleman, to learn more about the topic. It is regarded as one of the best books on emotional intelligence.

5. Vision-

A leader should have a clear vision for the organisation. He should then lead his team towards achieving the same. A visionary leader is necessary for the company’s long term success and growth. 

Top 10 Best Books on Leadership

1. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

The book explains that execution is the main quality of a leader. It also lays down tools and concepts that can enhance the outcomes. According to the authors, people, strategy, and operations are the 3 key execution processes.

2. Developing the Leader Within You 2.0, by John C. Maxwell

Considered as one of the best books on leadership, it is an update of the best selling book by the authors. The main crux of the book is that leadership is an influence. The 5 levels of leadership, namely position, permission, production, people development, and pinnacle, illustrate the point explained in the book.

3. Leading Change, by John P. Kotter

Change is an inevitable aspect of the business. The book is a guide for leaders as to how to manage change through the 8-step process. These steps help make the transition easier for a company and use the change to their benefit.

4. Disrupt-It-Yourself: Eight Ways to Hack a Better Business Before the Competition Does, by Simon Bhan Ahuja and James M. Loree

Competition is reducing the life of companies. In this book, the author provides 8 disrupt-it-yourself systems to bring about innovation in the organisation in order to survive in the competition.

5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

One of the best books on leadership, it takes the example of 11 companies that were able to leap from good to great. The book offers many insights and principles the companies follow to achieve success. 

6. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done, by Peter F. Drucker

The author explains 5 practices that are essential to business management. These practices should be used by the managers and leaders, which help them get the right thing done.

7. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, by Bill George

Considered as the one of the best books on leadership, it explains that great leaders make decisions based on their true north (i.e. what is important to them). This true north depends on the person’s vision, passion, and motivation. This makes the subordinates follow the leader wholeheartedly.

8. The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

The book offers simple tools to leaders or managers which take less than 60 seconds and have a significant impact on the performance of the employees. The authors advise managers to set 3 goals for employees and spend a minute giving them a positive impact, another letting them know their shortcomings. 

9. Leadership is an Art, by Max DePree.

Considered as one of the best books on emotional intelligence, the book explains how managers could learn leadership skills to help the organisation achieve great heights. The author focuses on building deep relationships and value systems in the organisation. This will help the employees reach their true potential and achieve organisational success. 

10.  Learning to Lead, by Ron Williams

The book is written for people in the initial phases of leadership. The author shares many advice and lessons which are helpful for new leaders. These strategies are driven by lessons of his journey and act as a roadmap for readers. 

Why is leadership important?

Improves communication

Leadership helps in improving communication in the workplace. Any team needs to function effortlessly, and clear and concise communication is the key. It is essential for the team to feel that their ideas are also relevant, and an efficient leader helps to create that environment. Great leadership books teach individuals how to be one. 

Healthy work environment

Effective leadership helps create a healthy environment within the team, which is fruitful in the long run. In a healthy environment, employee morale boosts and ideas flow naturally. This is helpful in business growth as well. The best books on leadership and management shed light on creating a healthy work environment.

Improves productivity 

A good leader focuses on improving the productivity of team members, as the productivity of one person affects the productivity of another. And a good leader understands how much it is important to stay productive and how well it affects the organisation’s growth. The best leadership books share how a poor leader can negatively impact the employee’s interest and productivity. 

Vision creation 

A good leader helps in creating a vision for the organisation. They include everyone in this conversation and make sure that the employees know how much it is important for everyone to be aligned on the same vision as them.

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Efficiency enhancement 

A productive leader can help employees to increase their work efficiency. They can get the most out of their team because they understand their team’s potential. A strong leader makes sure that the team is working on the same goal and is achieving the same goal. They delegate tasks and provide timely guidance to their team members. The top books on leadership help in sharing strategies to improve team efficiency. 

If you are interested in improving your leadership skills, you can check out the Leadership and Management in New-Age Business offered by The Wharton School in association with upGrad. You get executive coaching sessions and the academic content suited for leadership roles. You get to learn through a masterclass from the esteemed Wharton faculty. Additionally, you get programme completion certification from Wharton, enhancing your professional career.

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Top Management Skills to Learn


The business environment is becoming increasingly dynamic each day. To lead a company in this competitive world, outstanding leadership is one of the essential requirements. The leaders motivate the employees and take strategic steps to help the organisation navigate the tough times. Hence, leadership quality is a must-have for entrepreneurs and business owners.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are some of the podcasts for developing leadership skills?

Leadership skill is required for an individual striving to climb the social ladder. Hence, you must start developing leadership skills through various methods such as books, podcasts, etc. You can refer to some of the podcasts such as “Ask a CEO”, “the Impact Multiplier CEO”, and “the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast”.

2What are some of the YouTube Channels to develop Leadership skills?

YouTube is an excellent source for learning. Some of the YouTube Channels you can refer to are our Leadership Nudges, Front Line Leadership, and Life Leadership.

3What are the different types of Leadership styles?

Although the popularity of leadership styles has evolved over time, they can be classified into 7 broad categories: Autocratic, Authoritative, Pacesetting, Democratic, Coaching, Affiliative, and Laissez- faire.