At ConantLeadership we are continually pursuing the insights of smart thinkers who can help us improve our craft. An important part of the work of leadership is perpetual learning and growth and one of the best ways to grow is to read books written by our leadership contemporaries. Thankfully, there are a lot of wonderful books to celebrate and there are more and more worthwhile books being written every day. Here are two in particular, that recently crossed our desks, that can add tremendous value to your life and leadership.
If you have not yet read Bill George’s seminal works, True North, and Authentic Leadership, the recent release of this expanded and updated edition of True North is your opportunity to read one of the most helpful and insightful books for leaders in the 21st century. Why is this book so impactful? It will help you make better decisions and deal more productively with adversity. As leaders, as we navigate the stormy seas of decision making, we will increasingly face more challenging situations and more morally dubious conundrums. Without a strong sense of who we are and what we believe, making these decisions while remaining true to ourselves is very difficult. George’s text is the preeminent guidebook for connecting with our true selves, learning how to lead authentically, and relying on our True North to guide us in all of our pursuits. What is our True North?
In George’s words:
True North is your orienting point — your fixed point in a spinning world — that helps you stay on track as a leader. It is derived from your most deeply held beliefs, your values, and the principles you lead by. It is your internal compass, unique to you, that represents who you are at your deepest level. Just as a compass needle points toward a magnetic pole, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your leadership. When you follow your internal compass, your leadership will be authentic, and people will naturally want to associate with you.
As George reminds readers throughout the book, discovering our True North is not easy — it requires ongoing and steadfast commitment. But the hard work is worth it because, “as long as you are true to who you are, you can cope with the most difficult circumstances life presents.” This newest edition guides you through the journey of discovering your True North while providing over 100 real-world examples of authentic leaders. And the book offers interactive exercises at the end of each chapter that will challenge you to think about provocative questions to enhance your reading and comprehension. Definitely a must-read.
The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together | By Jennifer Kahnweiler
Lennon and McCartney. Jobs and Wozniak. Sandberg and Zuckerberg. We’re familiar with these famous duos and the extraordinary things they accomplished together. But what’s the secret to their success? What allowed them to accomplish great feats together that they may not have been able to achieve apart? In her new book, expert on introverted leadership, Jennifer Kahnweiler, explains the “secret sauce” to these dynamic partnerships. Opposites — like introverts and extroverts — can create magic together by leveraging the unique strength that their differences create. But only if they are armed with the tools to use their partnership productively and tap into the “genius” of their oppositional natures.
So how can we tap into the genius of our opposites to achieve success? The key, says Kahnweiler, “is to remember that these relationships are most successful when opposites stop focusing on their differences and use approaches that move them towards results.” Easier said than done. But she supports this big idea with an actionable process for all introverts to work better with their extroverted counterpoints, and vice-versa. Essentially, people in strong extrovert-introvert partnerships must:
- Accept their opposite’s differences. Don’t try to change them
- View disagreements as opportunities to arrive at better outcomes.
- Use the other person’s strengths — and share the credit.
- Treat each other with respect.
- Know that each party can’t offer everything; work in harmony to provide their best selves to others.
The book provides plenty of interesting examples and tools to bring the insights to life. Whether you are struggling with a burgeoning partnership or you are just trying to better connect with and understand the many people you encounter in your workplace or your community — Kahnweiler’s practical five-step process can help you tap into the genius you might be missing.
What books on your desk are inspiring you to live and lead better? Drop us a line in the comments.