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Leading Through Your Strengths – My Top 3 Leadership Books


Have you ever heard of a pet resort? When I was 23 years old I was given the opportunity to manage a pet resort and with that came the responsibility of up to 90 dogs lives and 20+ employees. Before this, I had very limited experience with managing, none. But someone took a chance and I am grateful for the risk they took.

When I began managing I felt woefully underqualified and mostly unprepared for the duties of being a manager. Not wanting to fail the 20+ people who were working for me, I dove into several management books. Some of them were a waste a time but there were a few that stood out and helped shape my leadership, management, and personal approach to work.

The beauty of our lives is we can always improve in our personal strengths and abilities. When I was managing Thousand Hills Pet Resort, I was given a great opportunity to apply the principles and ideas from the books I read.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

The first book that had a great impact on my leadership then and now, and highly recommend is, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It’s old, 1937 old, but does not read that way, in fact, it is extremely engaging and interesting to read. A couple highlights for me:

  • Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • Don’t criticize condemn or complain
  • Be a good listener, encourage others to talk about themselves
  • Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately
  • Use encouragement, make the fault seem easy to correct
  • Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

These are some of the chapters in the book and offer such amazing practical wisdom. This book has helped me be a better manager, friend, husband, and father. Thank you, dad, for recommending it! By the way, I still think I have your copy.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The second book is, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. The book is similar in its application of principles and universal truths. If you have ever heard of the 4 Quadrants or heard someone say they need to work on “Q2” that is a reference to this book. 

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Just this graphic alone can change how you approach work and life. This is just a small piece of the wisdom in the book. Check it out.

Strengths Based Leadership

If you have ever heard of Gallup, this is their leadership book and it is great. I recently read this book and highly recommend it. This book compliments the other two very well. The concept is, why would you focus on your weaknesses in business and life when you can focus on your strengths and improve what you are naturally talented and wired to do.

You take a 177 question, paired response survey and they give you your top 5 strengths with explanations on how to use them and their impact on your work. Here were my 5:

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Invest in Your Leadership

If you are a leader or an aspiring reader, pick up all three of these books. You will get so much out of them, from practical application to amazing insights on your personal development and life. When you build your LifeMap having these books in your back pocket for reference will go a long way to helping you create a great LifeMap.

What are your favorite leadership books? Have you invested in your leadership?

Stay tuned for a post on, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, if you haven’t heard of this method for project and task management, this is the gold standard.

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