“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”– Warren Bennis
It’s official! We have our first book club meeting of 2022 set for February where we will discuss Daring to Lead by Brené Brown. In the spirit of Dr. Bennis’s quote above, we chose Daring as an opportunity to reflect and develop a much needed skill set. We have all experienced poor leadership in some aspect, and we would hope that you have experienced examples of good leadership as well. Perhaps, you were that good leader who stepped forward. Maybe you passed up an opportunity for leadership because you felt unprepared. Whether you are an experienced leader or new to leadership, it is important to remember there is always room for growth. Additionally, leadership is not synonymous with the title on your business card. Whatever your position in your organization, you have an opportunity to show leadership. As you begin reading our February selection, we wanted to share some additional leadership resources with you for your career toolkit:
My favorite leadership resource is a list of books and journals complied by my favorite strategic management professor during my time as an MBA student at UH, Dr. Laura Cardinal. But since Dr. Cardinal has moved on to the University of South Carolina and her list is no longer online (I have a paper copy at home!), my second favorite resource is the Harvard Business Review series of podcasts. I listen to topics on the Coaching Real Leaders and Dear HBR: podcasts the most, but I also dabble in listening to HBR IdeaCast, Women at Work and The Anxious Achiever from time to time. I find them all helpful!
A couple of books I’ve found to be helpful in developing my leadership skills are Turn the Ship Around by Capt. L. David Marquet, USN (Ret.), Radical Candor by Kim Scott, and Measure What Matters by John Doerr. I have also found the SURJ online resources to be helpful when recognizing embedded racism in my organization and how to be a leader for change.
I love Ask A Manager: https://www.askamanager.org/. I think it is helpful for all levels of employees, not only to remind readers of the legal ramifications of management decisions, but also for sanity checks of what is and is not okay in the workplace. Ranging from the funny and outrageous to everyday situations, Alison Green manages to capture what it is like to lead and be led in modern America.
I have not read many books specifically about leadership; however I studied history and a few books that I read in school and since are important to me for looking at leadership and power from all sides, including looking in the mirror. I think the work and partnership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony is a very interesting study of leadership styles—in terms of how and why they made the decisions they did as leaders of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States, and as abolitionists. A link here provides a short overview of their collaboration and references for further reading: https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/elizabeth-cady-stanton#section_4.
For my fellow introverts out there, a recent recommendation that came my way is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. A #1 New York Times Best Seller – it has continued to makes its way onto leadership reading lists. An interesting read that challenges the picture of a traditional leader and explores how to harness skills developed by the quietest voice in the room. Here is a link to a review of the book: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/books/review/susan-cains-quiet-argues-for-the-power-of-introverts.html. Additionally, while not strictly a leadership book, Stephen Klineberg’s Prophetic City (a previous Apra GH Book Club selection) does a wonderful job of telling the story of how good and bad leadership along with other influences shaped the city of Houston.
If you have any recommendations for future Apra Book Club meetings or are an Apra Greater Houston member and would like to write for the blog, please contact us.