The pandemic has forced most businesses to make quick strategic changes. Leaders who weathered the brief but deep early recession of the pandemic made themselves more resilient to fiscal shocks by executing less effort and focusing on core product or service lines.
Today, the global economy is faltering again. This is partly due to the overhang of the pandemic – supply chain issues, labor shortages and unpredictable shifts in consumer and business behavior. While the United States has so far been the best home in a bad neighborhood among developed economies, the consensus forecast is a recession in 2023.
Economists are divided on the (likely) length and severity of the recession. Therefore, some see a short and relatively mild downturn. Others see a deep and protracted ordeal from which it takes years to recover, similar to what followed the global financial crisis of the late 2000s.
Even if the economy avoids a severe recession, it seems clear that 2023 will be more difficult for most companies than 2021 or 2022. As a result, this means that it will be a difficult year for those who steer the ship.
But great challenges (can) bring great opportunities. Countless leaders will be created (and broken) in the months and years to come. Likewise, now is the time to arm yourself and your team with the tools to seize the moment.
Leadership Books That Will Make You Money in 2023
Start with your leadership reading list. Consider these eight books to read by the end of Q1 2023 to prepare yourself for what’s to come.
Each of the books on this list offers unique, actionable insights for entrepreneurs, executives, and senior executives. Some focus more on leadership philosophy and strategy. Others are more tactical, written by battle-scarred leaders eager to help others avoid their mistakes while sharing their successes. And some have less to say about day-to-day management than about preparing for success, which is all the more important when times are tough.
1. The Chef’s Playlist —Susan Drumm
Deep down you understand the power of music, even if you don’t consider yourself an expert on it. You were moved by a simple melody, perhaps to tears. Certainly more than once.
In The Chef’s Playlist, out in mid-October, executive advisor and leadership coach Susan Drumm shows that music does more than move us. It can change us and make us better leaders too.
Using the latest neuroscience research on the impact of music on the brain and real-life stories of executives and entrepreneurs who have transformed their leadership mindset and approach, Drumm uncovers powerful, mostly overlooked connections between our internal playlists and our decision-making with an actionable 7-step process for harnessing the power of music to transform our leadership and our lives, long after the melody stops.
2. Nudge —Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
Nudge is arguably the most influential behavioral science book of the 21st century.
Thaler and Sunstein explore the vast and largely hidden world of “choice” architecture. They reveal hidden pathways and obstacles that people and organizations use to encourage or discourage action. Lily Nudge put on your consumer hat and you’ll immediately see the myriad ways your choices are shaped every day. Read it with your leadership hat on and you’ll discover a whole new world of opportunity to lead decisively and get more out of those around you, often without overtly exerting your influence.
Authors Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler claim this is his “final” edition. It has been updated and at times completely rewritten with post-pandemic leadership information. Amid looming macro challenges, this book will help you delegate more effectively and stay on track to achieve your financial and professional goals.
3. Surrounded by idiots —Thomas Erikson
Leadership is lonely in part because great leaders often feel like they’re the only ones who “get it.” They walk a rational and righteous path alone while everyone else wanders through the weeds.
They might say they are “surrounded by idiots”.
Spoiler alert: they are not. You are not. But it takes work to see that people who seem to have no idea what they’re doing—or who seem to think so differently from you that it’s pointless trying to figure them out—are really worth the time.
by Thomas Erikson Surrounded by idiots is the best book to date for leaders who want to get better at managing diverse and divergent teams. Erikson introduces us to four main personality types and provides a roadmap for communicating and motivating each. Even if you still don’t understand them, you will understand what motivates them. You will discern what you can do to ensure that everyone is a valuable member of your team.
4. The art of thinking clearly —Rolf Dobelli
Tunnel vision. Decision fatigue. Cognitive biases.
No matter how smart or skilled we think we are, we all run into these “thinking problems.” For most people, they are part of life and rarely pose serious, let alone existential, threats to our well-being.
For leaders, it’s another matter. One wrong decision can change the course of a business and derail even the most successful career.
In The art of thinking clearlyentrepreneur Rolf Dobelli lifts the curtain on faulty decision-making and helps us recognize the cognitive biases and weaknesses that hinder performance.
The result is a clear plan for better tactical leadership. Of manage cash find high-potential markets to scour the world for your next star seller, The art of thinking clearly provides a framework to guide you through the most important decisions you will make as a leader. It won’t guarantee you’ll do the right thing – forethought is never 20/20 – but it will reduce the risk of reputation-damaging error.
5. The 10 stories told by great leaders -Paul Smith
Great leaders tend to be great salespeople. Not in the sense of hard charging and closing at all costs – it only goes so far, and it is much more effective in the trenches.
No, great leaders tend to be great salespeople because they tend to be great storytellers – about themselves, their companies, their missions in life and business.
In The 10 stories told by great leaders, leadership expert Paul Smith reveals the art and science behind motivational storytelling while reassuring us that effective storytelling is primarily learned, not innate. As a result, you can use Smith’s insights and actionable storytelling ideas to overcome your introversion. Tell the stories that sell your business and your goals to your customers and your team.
6. Stand out: how to strengthen your leadership presence —Carol Kinsey Gorman
Leadership skill is one thing. If you’re reading this, you probably already have it.
Leadership presence is another. Many leaders don’t have it when they start; some never acquire it at all. They tend to leave opportunities on the table.
Contrary to popular belief, leadership presence is mostly learned rather than innate, as is leadership storytelling. In Stand out: how to strengthen your leadership presence, Carol Kinsey Gorman draws on years of leadership coaching and motivational speaking experience to guide us through the often subtle cues and tics that define true presence. Read it to learn how to bridge the gap between your authentic self and your public persona. You are likely to strengthen both in the process.
seven. The art of authenticity —Karissa Thacker
About that authentic self: it tends to get drowned out when circumstances demand that you really be “active”, assert yourself and show everyone that you are in charge.
It’s not necessary, it shouldn’t, and it’s actually a bad thing that it does. Consequently, it tends to encourage micromanagement, which has serious pitfalls in most modern workplaces.
Between Karissa Thacker and The art of authenticity, a guide to allowing your true self to emerge even in the highest pressure situations. Thacker demonstrates why authentic leadership is essential macro management strategy that can have a contagious and positive effect on your team. It turns out that people like to be themselves and perform better when they are.
8. The Leadership Gap: What’s Between You and Your Greatness? —Lolly Daskal
If you’ve ever felt like there was a dark side to your abilities, like your greatest strengths were also your greatest weaknesses, then Lolly Daskal The Leadership Gap: What’s Between You and Your Greatness? is for you.
Daskal leverages years of experience working closely with high performing artists. The book reveals the hidden weaknesses that lurk in even the most effective leaders. Look for yourself at her leadership types and foils: the “light” explorer becoming the “dark” explorer, the bold hero becoming the cowardly spectator, and many more. Learn how to remove the negative side of your leader persona as you face what will likely be the toughest business environment in many years.
What’s your playlist for 2023?
This reading list has several thousand pages, in total. If you’re not used to winding down at the end of the day with a hardcover or your Kindle — and many executives just don’t have the time — opt for audiobooks instead. Most of these titles are available as audiobooks. They probably have more long-term value than your business and economics podcasts.
Remember that the months and years to come will separate the truly great leaders from the mere ordinaries.
Get ready for what’s to come now. You will thank yourself later.
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