If I Had to Choose Three More ...
April 06, 2015 | 1386 Views
Two years ago I posted a blog on the CHART site titled, If I Had to Choose Just Three, in which I wrote about the three books that I couldn’t live without as a hospitality trainer. I still refer to all three of these books today and use them very regularly in my job as Director of Training for Ivar’s Restaurants.
But as I have moved up in my company over the years, from training specialist to manager to director, and as I’ve taken on larger projects, partnered with an ever-increasing number of departments, and grown my level of responsibility, I found that lately I’ve been reading more and more from the Leadership section of the bookstore. I’m now searching for strategies to help me push past various hurdles and achieve success in areas above and beyond what I am tasked to do as a trainer or facilitator.
There are an extraordinary number of leadership books which one can read, of course, but if I were to pick just three – the most essential resources that have helped me the most – here are the books I would select.
Nothing tops Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, in my opinion. If you haven’t already read it, do yourself a huge favor and pick up a copy. Written way back in 1936, but still incredibly relevant today, Carnegie’s book is a treasure chest of simple strategies that will help you better connect with people, make your staff and co-workers truly understand that you value their contributions, and persuade others to your way of thinking. It’s a very quick read and is something I always review prior to taking on any project where I am working with a team for the very first time.
My second choice is Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership: Executive Lessons from the Bully Pulpit, by James M. Strock. As a National Park enthusiast, I have always been drawn to any publication on our country’s “Conservationist President,” but this one outshines all of the other TR biographies available. Strock has done an outstanding job showcasing the life and philosophy of one of the most effective leaders in American history and converting these stories into practical advice for any person today who needs to enlist others to achieve a goal. If I ever feel overwhelmed, like I’m facing a professional obstacle that simply cannot be conquered, this is the book I turn to for inspiration.
Quiet Influence: The Introvert's Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer Kahnweiler also makes my list. I’m a very, very quiet person, and I will often go entire weekends without speaking to anyone (and loving it). But because I work in a profession and an industry where communication is essential, and I also have served on the board of CHART for the past three years and as President since last July, I needed to find a way to make my opinions heard in a world that often feels like it is dominated by extroverts. Kahnweiler’s methods have definitely helped to guide me on this path – I now understand that I don’t need to pretend to possess a Type A personality, but rather I can leverage my natural strengths and skills to increase my ability to influence and motivate others. The book contains many practical approaches, laid out in a simple and straightforward manner, for us quiet folks to find our voice and lead with confidence.
Although the average American only reads five books per year, according to the Pew Research Center, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of 5 books per month because they understand that it is one of the most efficient and effective methods to learn and can be a powerful tool for personal and business success. So even if these three books are not your cup of tea, I would urge you to ask your colleagues or co-workers for recommendations and seek out titles that do intrigue you. Invest in yourself, and your company, by being relentless in your pursuit of knowledge.
Enjoy reading. I welcome your book suggestions as well.
This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of FlipCHART.