Recommended Reading

This is a collection of my favorite books on leadership performance. They range from practical, tactical advice to the more sensitive topics of vulnerability and emotional awareness. These books have had significant influence over my approach to leadership and I often recommend them to my coaching clients.

 

Crucial Conversations

by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan

Not all conversations are created equally. Some involve differing opinions, strong emotions, and high stakes, which together form what the authors call “Crucial Conversations.” This book provides straightforward explanations for why these interactions often go poorly and then offer a practical framework for how to handle them with greater skill. A must read.

 

The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, Kaley Klemp

Most people let fear and ego get in the way of effectively leading, whether it’s leading their team, their family, or their own lives. Conscious Leadership is a set of principles aimed at raising our curiosity to maximize learning and then taking responsibility for one’s circumstances.

Alex MacCaw, CEO at Clearbit, wrote a fantastic summary of this book here.

 

Nonviolent Communication

by Marshall B. Rosenberg

A classic book on how to communicate with others in a more empathic manner. More than just a communication tool, NVC helps the reader better understand the relationships between our feelings, needs, and what outside circumstances have to do with them.

 

High Output Management

by Andrew S. Grove

While the tone may feel slightly dated, this guide by legendary executive Andy Grove remains a highly practical resource for managing teams both big and small. It’s both detailed and comprehensive, with chapters on improving processes, measuring results, running effective meetings, making decisions, designing organizations (functional vs. divisional vs. matrix), managing performance, and more.

 

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni

Told as a fictional tale, “Five Dysfunctions” builds a case that there are five types of team dysfunction: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. The author presents these concepts as a pyramid, where each condition builds on the other. Leaders who are struggling to get their teams to drive results would do well to read this.

 

Reboot

by Jerry Colonna

Reboot is an unusual book about leadership. There are no management frameworks, no academic theories, and no prescriptions for how to lead your company. Instead, Jerry makes a case for “radical self-inquiry” as the key to finding meaning, building strong companies, and becoming our fullest selves in our work.

 

High Growth Handbook

by Elad Gil

True to its name, “High Growth Handbook” is a collection of quick and to-the-point tactical advice for the various challenges that one faces in making the transition from small, early-stage startup to scaling up. It covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from organizational structure to board management, from marketing to M&A deals. The book is organized so that you can reach for it and quickly get an answer to whatever burning question you may be thinking about when your company is on a steep upward trajectory.