A new generation of leaders — Millennials — is transforming how we do business. While much about the business world has changed, the core nature of leadership remains the same: The best leaders are always learning, seeking expert knowledge, elevating their teams, and pushing those around them to improve.
For any Millennial leader looking to take his or her leadership to the next level, here are 10 must-reads covering everything from personal improvement to leadership to brand-building. Some of the best leadership books can help Millennial leaders set themselves apart in a crowded landscape.
Top of Mind – John Hall
Regardless of the quality of the product or service you provide, the only way to excel in a competitive marketplace is to establish relationships with customers and build an authentic, consistent brand. John Hall, co-founder of Calendar.com and a top motivational speaker, provides a step-by-step roadmap to help any entrepreneur build an excellent brand and foster trusted relationships with customers, partners, and potential talent alike.
Dare to Lead – Brené Brown
Every business is ultimately about people, and Brené Brown has spent decades researching the emotions that affect our work — whether we realize it or not. Brown’s standout book on leadership explores how to lead others with vulnerability and values.
As a leader, especially a younger one, it can be daunting to acknowledge what you don’t know and to be honest about your self-doubt. Brown makes a clear case for why vulnerability is necessary to great leadership and gives readers a guide to use it in their own careers.
Elevate – Robert Glazer
Robert Glazer, founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, offers a blueprint to help any person reach his or her innate potential as both an individual and a leader. Very few of us understand what we really want most and how to get it. Glazer offers readers a step-by-step method to discover their purpose and values, build intellectual discipline, fortify their physical health, and strengthen their emotional relationships.
Elevate was based on the lessons from Friday Forward, Glazer’s newsletter that reaches 100,000 people worldwide each week; it’s been endorsed by Adam Grant, Daniel Pink, Hal Elrod, and others.
The Coaching Habit – Michael Bungay Stanier
Michael Bungay Stanier is one of the world’s most accomplished leadership and management coaches. With this book, he demonstrates how leaders can use his techniques, questions, and feedback mechanisms to coach everybody they lead to improve their performance and build vital career skills. Endorsed by Brené Brown, Daniel Pink, and others, The Coaching Habit is a valuable tool for any leader.
Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
In this New York Times bestseller, media entrepreneur Rachel Hollis gives readers guidance on how to overcome self-doubt, push aside excuses, and pursue their innate potential. Many Millennials feel burned out by the pressures of daily life, and Hollis helps readers rise above those challenges by honestly detailing her own struggles and sharing how she worked — and continues to work — to overcome them.
This memoir features humor, emotional turmoil, and inspiration in equal parts, and the result is a story of the power of self-reliance and resilience.
Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader – Herminia Ibarra
Great leadership is driven by consistent improvement, but with all the demands on a young leader’s time, it can be hard to find the hours needed to learn and grow. Ibarra, an accomplished professor at INSEAD, provides steps leaders can take to optimize their role, ensuring they spend less time on urgent busywork and more time building relationships, crafting strategy, and improving.
Becoming a sharp business strategist takes time, and Ibarra’s book will help readers make the changes needed to hone their skills.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport
Most young professionals are told to find something they’re passionate about as a vocation. A Millennial himself, MIT professor Cal Newport challenges this advice, and this book explores his research on how passion can come from the satisfaction of becoming excellent at a profession.
Newport interviewed a wide range of professionals who derive satisfaction from their work — including screenwriters, farmers, and investors — and shares how any person can build passion for his or her work with the right effort and outlook. If you’re worried about falling into a career you don’t love, Newport offers potential relief and an outlook-changing guide to self-actualization.
The Four Tendencies – Gretchen Rubin
So much of leadership depends upon understanding other people and recognizing that what works for one person doesn’t work for all. Gretchen Rubin, a researcher, author, and former attorney, crafted a defining study based on one question: How do people respond to expectations? The more we understand about people, the more capable we are of leading — Rubin’s work gives strategies leaders can use to understand others and adjust their behavior to better motivate and empower them.
A Paperboy’s Fable – Deep Patel
Serial entrepreneur Deep Patel provides a heartwarming, wisdom-laden tale of how any leader, regardless of the size or industry of his or her business, can get ahead with thoughtful strategy, diligent work, and a will to improve. Though Patel’s book is a work of fiction, it’s a fun, easy read that inspires readers to make the most of any situation and bring value to others in whatever way possible.
Indistractable – Nir Eyal
Millennials have spent a majority of their lives with technological advancements like social media and smartphones. While in many ways these shifts have connected us, they also provide a constant source of distraction. In this book, entrepreneur and researcher Nir Eyal explores why we’re predisposed to distraction, how we can break out of that tendency, and how we can gain control of our lives. This book is a valuable resource for digital natives who don’t want technology to keep them from living their lives.
Let’s face it — if you’re not learning, you’re falling behind. By investing time in books like these, you can stay ahead of the game and keep growing as a leader. If you’d like to go beyond books and take a course, Lifehack.org has a great motivational course you can take!