The workplace. It is, as my father once said “a thoroughly unnatural environment,” one that can be incredibly difficult to navigate, where, even if you begin to approach, or indeed reach, the top of the food chain, it can be unclear how exactly you are supposed to proceed. How do you manage people? How do you lead a team without being overbearing? How do you show enough initiative to seem like a go-getter, but not so much that you appear overly eager and slightly sad? Where is the balance? Well, look no further. These five books will answer all your questions and more. They will help you to kick ass and shine your brightest in the workplace.
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Okay, so this may seem slightly negative, but actually, it is an overwhelmingly positive book, showing you just how to see the bright side and learn from the mistakes you’ve made. Nobody gets through their career without making mistakes, some minor, some earth-shattering, we all make them. These twenty-five accounts from career women about what they learned from their mistakes will not only make you feel better about your own but also guide you away from repeating their faux-pas.
From bestselling author Cheryl Strayed to Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck, this book is a must-read for anyone who is looking to feel better about accidentally shredding their bosses end-of-quarter report…
2. The Evolved Executive: The Future of Work Is Love in Action by Heather Hanson Wickman Ph.D.
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Often, people in leadership positions know only how to lead by force and sometimes by fear, having learned these techniques from previous leaders, and have received little guidance in how to actually lead with compassion. Once in a position of leadership, it can be difficult to get a moment to actually consider one’s techniques, their effectiveness, and, indeed, their general effect upon the people one is leading. That is why a book like this is so helpful in combatting these toxic trends and bring compassion back to the workplace.
Heather Hanson Wickman P.h.D., who admits she herself ‘cracked’ in a toxic work environment, told Author Hour “the way that we work is so ingrained in us based on just decades and decades of, I would say, outdated management philosophy. What I know today is that organizations of the future are going to be built on a different paradigm.” This book is perfect for anyone either in a leadership position, or looking towards attaining one.
3. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
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Okay, so this is obviously a famous one, but it’s famous for a reason. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of Leanin.org wrote her celebrated book in order to encourage women to achieve their career goals and subvert the norm of men holding the majority of leadership roles within businesses. Using a fascinating mix of hard facts and her own personal experiences, she explores the reasons behind the lack of leadership positions held by women and the various ways in which we can combat this at both personal and societal levels.
This book is perfect for anyone who is aiming to progress and move up in their role, by making you aware of the dynamics that exist, and how we can work within them to change and move forward.
4. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
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It can be difficult to know how to make yourself stand out in your role, but this book shows you how. By differentiating between people in management and non-management roles, Godin adds a third group: the linchpins. Linchpins make themselves indispensable to their workplace by thinking outside the box, and figuring out what to do when there’s no rule book. They, according to Amazon, ‘turn each day into a kind of art.’
From finding shortcuts to resolving conflict, this book shows you how to make yourself stand up and stand out by using your own creativity and individuality and overcoming what holds others back.
5. Why We Work by Barry Schwartz
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In this book, Schwartz explores how to tap into your motivation, in order to “do a good job for the sake of doing a good job” and in doing so, pass this mindset on to your employees, or future employees. He discusses the demotivated atmosphere of many workplaces, resulting, he says, from financial incentives rather than genuine gratitude or human feeling.
This book is perfect for anybody who is feeling demotivated in their current position but wishes to excel and elevate within their organization. It could totally recalibrate how you think about work!
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