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Booklist for Professional Development

Here are a list of books related to leadership, mentoring, difficult conversations/interactions, and personal development that you might find useful.  

Leadership is An Art, by Max DePree
Older book (first published in 1989), called “Astonishing” by Bill Clinton.  The author defines leadership as stewardship, with responsibility on leaders to build relationships, reach consensus, and creating lasting values in the organization. He says leaders “owe” the institution/organization and should be caring, purposeful, and committed.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team:  A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni
Uses a story about a fictitious firm with employees to show how people interact, where problems arise, and demonstrate communication differences.  All the employees have amplified personalities and fit sometimes stereotypical roles, but it is instructive.   

A Peacock in the Land of Penguins:  A Fable About Creativity and Courage, B.J. Gallagher and Warren H. Schmidt
Addresses workplace diversity (or lack thereof) using a metaphor that is instructive and meaningful, without being “threatening” or “preachy”.  It talks about what it’s like to be perceived as different, and the struggle to overcome the birds-of-a-feather-flock-together mentality, and how the flock can be reluctant to engage, or don’t know how to interact with newcomers.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, by Brené Brown
“Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.
When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.”

What Works: Weaving Mentoring into Teaching, Research, and Service, by John Cabra, Julia Figliotti, and Andy Burnett

Difficult Conversations:  How to Discuss what Matters Most, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen
Identifies three main types of conversations that can be modified to have a more effective conversation: 

  • The “What Happened?” conversation (arguing, assumptions, blame)
  • The Feelings Conversation
  • The Identity conversation (some parts  about integrity and self-image)

There is also a part on expressing yourself with Clarity and Power

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Crucial Accountability:  Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfiled, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Creating a Drama-Free Workplace: The Insider's Guide to Managing Conflict, Incivility & Mistrust, by Anna Maravelas

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brené Brown

How Full is Your Bucket?, by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton

Appreciative Leadership:  Building Sustainable Organizations, by Jack Ricchiuto

Mountain Paths: A Guide on the Journey toward Discovering our Potential, by Jack Ricchiuto
Kind of a self-guided change-your-mindset book, but goal-oriented and a good read for anyone trying to improve themselves or assist someone else.

The Present: The Gift that Makes You Happy and Successful at Work and in Life, by Spencer Johnson