I’m happy to share three new leadership books with you that are launching in the coming days. Each brings a unique and helpful perspective to ease the work of leaders and create new opportunities for developing leadership skills. Check them out and get all three!
Leaders Open Doors by Bill Treasurer
In the second edition of Leaders Open Doors, Bill Treasurer denounces what he calls the complexification of leadership. Instead, he calls on us to simplify leadership and follow four key skills to instill optimism instead of fear in the hearts of people: know your employees, match development opportunities to development needs, have a clear picture of the desired results you want from these opportunities, and provide ongoing support. Rightly, Bill explains that real growth can only happen in the discomfort zone (more on that with Marcia Reynolds’ book below).
I really like his focus on creating opportunities as the core of his leadership philosophy. He goes on to describe a variety of types of opportunities complete with examples and stories to explain each one. Each chapter has reflection questions at the end that help the reader think deeply and apply the ideas to their own situations. The new edition ends with a brand new chapter featuring the stories of many leadership development luminaries, such as Ken Blanchard, Beverly Kaye, Jim Kouzes and Elaine Biech, about leaders who have opened doors for them. I think it makes a nice addition to the second edition!
Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative by Scott Eblin
If being a corporate warrior has you overworked and overwhelmed, read Scott Eblin’s new book, Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative, to make a game changing difference in your life.
According to this book and a large body of emerging research, this existence in perpetual fight or flight mode actually has a hugely negative impact on our productivity, quality of life and health. This book will show you how to mindfully activate your rest and digest response to counteract that fight or flight response.
Reading this book can help leaders and all sorts of professionals realize that they’re not going to change anything by doing more of what they've been doing. Working more hours cannot possibly be the answer. I think this book will help you identify and try simple mindfulness routines that will make a big difference in your quality of life.
One of the things I love most about this book is that Scott describes four different mindfulness “killer apps” in each of four domains – physical, mental, relational and spiritual. The killer app of physical routines is movement. We have all heard that sitting is the new smoking. Scott says that just getting out of your chair every hour or so for a stretch or a quick walk can make a world of difference in your physical health and mental capacity. I have personally found this to be true. The killer app for mental routines is breathing. Scott says that three deep breaths from your belly can clear out the chatter in your head and help you focus. The killer app for relational routines is listening. Look for a few opportunities each day to have a conversation with someone where you have no other agenda than to listen to them. That's hard to do, but so worth it! Finally, the killer app of spiritual routines is reflection. A good place to start on that front is gratitude. Almost everyone has something in their life to be grateful for. I agree.
The Discomfort Zone by Marcia Reynolds
The best leaders and coaches make us feel unsure of ourselves. Sound crazy? Marcia Reynolds details what it truly takes to change someone’s mind so they see themselves and the world around them with new eyes in her new book The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs.
This book is for leaders and coaches who want to create breakthroughs with people who are stuck or resisting change. Marcia has spent years researching what must go on in the brain for people to make long term behavioral changes, and what you can do to facilitate this change. She lays out this process in a clear and adaptable way using many examples and even very detailed cases so you can see how to apply the techniques for yourself.
Marcia shares a model for diving into uncomfortable moments in conversations and provides specific techniques to spur people to look at things differently, discover their own solutions, and grow beyond their limitations. She also explains how to pick the right time and place to enter the discomfort zone and how to create a “safety bubble” so that people will trust your intentions.
One of Marcia’s core messages is that discomfort is good if you create a safe space for it. People who are stuck or resistant need to feel uncertain before they are open to learn and grow. How well do you deal with uncomfortable conversations? You can take the Rate Your Zone of Discomfort quiz to find out. Feel free to share the assessment with your team and colleagues.
I’d love to hear about your reactions to these books, and about other new leadership books you’d recommend!
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