These are the top business and motivational books that should be on every leader’s bookshelf, recommended by Deborah Cole – CEO and author of She (Believed She Could So She Did).

The antiquated style of leading by mandate or intimidation no longer proves effective and, in fact, never really did. Finding the right path to motivating and leading is an evolving process, particularly in today’s new world of remote-work and steep resignations. We need to keep the workplace not only engaged, but inspired. And opening up the bookshelf of what not only a “good” CEO reads, but a “great,” can be elevated by eschewing the boys club of traditionally lauded business authors and reading female authors in touch with today’s workforce.

The sooner current leaders and those elevated through the ranks become aware of truly effective team leadership, the sooner positive results are achieved. Many leaders come by a humanist approach quite effortlessly. Those who are less than comfortable with such a methodology can modify their management style with the help of advisors, coaches and the works of current authors. Success for a business or organization can be achieved by the awareness that the entire work group is a living entity-a diverse, living, ever changing unit responding to effective leadership.

Management books by knowledgeable writers provide insight into what might be unfamiliar leadership styles. These are the top 5 books written by female writers and experts in their field – that should be on every leader’s bedside table or audible device for the CEO or manager who needs education on the move. Whatever format, the key to harnessing a new way of leadership is available and should be seized.

Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach

This New York Times bestseller by the two-time Olympic gold medalist in soccer and FIFA World Cup Champion is a perfect read for the busy executive. Its easy style and less than 100-page time commitment packs a huge punch for those who consider themselves fiercely competitive. Wambach’s 8 leadership directives are presented in an engaging style that informs all readers that it is “time to change the game” and be an inspiring leader with teams that are hungry for success in a most humane way. 

Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams by Stefanie K. Johnson

A Wall Street Journal bestseller, Inclusify provides extensive research from recent studies which removes any doubt about the benefits of a diverse work environment. Johnson moves the conversation from merely a discussion of diversity to real inclusion and equity where the value lies. Her insightful and practical recommendations on how to move the needle from a work environment where everyone hired is a clone to a place valuing unique contribution. The results in the diverse environment are improved performance in financial, cultural and employee engagement metrics. 

Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts by Brene Brown

Although this is not a new offering, Brown’s book on leadership deserves a second read. Nuggets of wisdom, hilarious stories and inspiring ideas for becoming the best one can be in any leadership role. Status and power are shown to make way for the importance of recognition of people as well as innovative ideas. Giving space for growth of one’s team as well as support and encouragement are key to engagement on all levels. The author has research to back up her claims and provides creative ways for implementation of steps to achieving the leadership which benefits the business as well as individuals on a team. 

Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership by Susan MacKenty Brady, Janet Foutty and Lynn Perry Wooten

Women fight hard to achieve leadership roles in business and even harder to occupy a corner office in the C-suite. Unfortunately, much is still sacrificed to gain these positions. What happens when they arrive? Is it everything they thought it would be? Often there are surprises of new struggles being the best leaders possible while holding on to the new position without sacrificing the attributes which can make these women best if not better leaders than previous occupants. The 3 authors bring a wealth of knowledge from the business world as well as academia to provide advice and suggestions for being the best leader possible and thriving in the process. 

Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work by Reshma Saujani

Compelling data illustrates how far women have come in the workforce and yet still have huge strides to be made. The Great Resignation of 2021 have included a large percentage of women which has dropped employment numbers for females to an all-time low. Working from home, maintaining domestic duties, family obligations have exhausted women in mammoth numbers to the point where there is significant “giving up.” This author, who also wrote Girls Who Code, illustrates why there needs to be a shift in attitude toward women in the workplace in the new work environment. She suggests 4 key steps toward making this new normal more acceptable and less anxiety causing for the female workforce of the next decade.

Abput the author
Cole is a former CEO turned photographer and author, whose second book SHE (Believed She Could So She Did) was published January 1, 2022. Cole is a speaker, writer, and visual storyteller based in Austin, Texas. After 35 years leading teams and managing multi-million-dollar projects, the former business owner and leader enthusiastically shares her wisdom, stories and documentary-style photography with others.

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