It’s time to set a reading list for the year. Or, maybe it’s a ‘listening list’ if, like me, you prefer to listen to audiobooks through Audible or your local library.
The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently
by Tony Dungy
‘Your only job is to help your players be better.’
For decades Christians have recognised the importance of mentoring which we have modelled on Jesus’ mentoring of his disciples. Now the Egyptians are plundering us! This book by a former NFL coach is not just about mentoring—it’s also about how to become a more empowering leader. While a little cliched in parts, Dungy outlines the critical elements of mentor leadership, including introspection, an altruistic mindset, and modelling values. The Mentor Leader demonstrates how to establish a leadership pipeline, support individuals to improve their performance, and enhance teamwork.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
There are not many church planting books written by the Egyptians, but this is one of them. It’s not actually about church planting—it’s about building a company from scratch. And yet many of the same lessons apply. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz illustrates the realities of entrepreneurship, addressing how to build a business (or church) from the ground up, and to make tough calls and hard decisions with minimal guidance or support.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sanderson
‘In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.’
This is a powerful book that draws on Sandberg’s experience as a Facebook executive. She examines the ways women hold back and miss career opportunities by being passive and polite. Sanderson encourages women to seek strong mentors, to advocate for themselves, and to find their place as leaders. Such actions can empower women to transform into leaders instead of merely accepting assigned roles. Check out her TED Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders?language=en
Leadership: Theory and Practice
by Peter G. Northouse
‘Leaders who use coercion are interested in their own goals and seldom are interested in the wants and needs of followers. Using coercion runs counter to working with followers to achieve a common goal.’
Now in its 8th edition, Peter G Northouse’s Leadership: Theory and Practice is one of the best leadership books for new leaders. It serves as a comprehensive textbook, covering a wide range of academic concepts and evidence-based learnings related to the field of leadership. The book explores various traits, behaviours, approaches, theories, and styles of leadership, providing a great overview.
Jerks At Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them
by Tessa West
This recently published book offers excellent advice to church leaders. It’s great to see the Egyptians recognising the impact of sin, both on the way we lead and on the behaviour of others. You can substitute ‘parishioner’ for ‘co-worker’ here and find good advice on how to deal with challenging people who sap our time and emotional energy. As a social psychologist West categorises different kinds of toxic co-workers (the ‘kiss up/kick downer’,” the ’free rider’, and the ‘gaslighter’, to name a few) and describes how best to engage with each of them.
Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business
by John Mackey, Steve Mcintosh, and Carter Phipps
‘Whether they know it or not, every person and every organization has the potential to embrace, enact, and unify people around a higher purpose.’
This book is helpful at several levels. It helps us to better understand the world of our congregations, and it provides great material for sermon applications that will empower Christians working in the corporate world. It challenges Christian leaders to consider how Christian ethics can better shape our churches and organisations (secular or Christian). Head author, John Mackey, founded the huge US supermarket chain Whole Foods and thehe book explores values-based leadership. It also both inspires creative approaches to serving our communities, and challenges conventional business wisdom.