Must Haves

 

Learning is all about shifting perspective. These books have provided us with “ahas” that really provided us with a different way of looking at things. This list will rotate and change as we continue to learn! Have a suggestion? Submit it here.

Your Brain at Work by David Rock

Why we love it:

This is an easy to read book. With a great balance of story telling and science, David Rock helps us understand how the way our brains are wired doesn’t always match with what we expect ourselves to be able to achieve. He presents different ways to work that are much more “brain compatible”. Soundly researched, he demonstrates why working differently and using a coaching stance is so important in your own leadership style – and the kind of impact you can have on others. If work is difficult or not enjoyable, it is almost always because of the relationships. This book demonstrates why that is, and how you can change your own approach. It also provides a great foundation for Cognitive Coaching – which is the “how” and the skills you need to adapt in the ways he suggests. 

Why we think you will love it:

The book is based on neuroscience, but also has practical tips for how to better manage your own thinking. It provides the “why” in a way that resonates. We often think of the “soft skills” as fluffy, but this books really highlights how it isn’t – it is the science of how we are wired neurocognitively, how our hormones impact and why we behave the way we do. These are all things you likely had a hunch on, but now there is a great way to explain and think about relational dynamics. It highlights why we feel exhausted and overwhelmed, how to better focus and manage distractions, how to self-regulate (and be kind to yourself), and how to get the best out of others.

The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Klemp

Why we love it:

The authors really thought about leadership in a different way. Most companies operate with a win/lose mindset that is entrenched by using blame and “being right”. Instead focused on the mindsets of leadership that creates a learning organization. In their experience, learning organizations had the best culture. There is a simple message – being more conscious about your thinking and the thinking of others will make you a better leader, learner and co-worker. They frame it as being “above or below the line”. Above the line is conscious. Below the line is unconscious. This is an easy idea but takes a lot of work to achieve. They outline “15 commitments” that can help you get there. It is the first two that we think have the biggest impact: the first is to take radical responsibility for your life circumstances. The second is to put aside being right and instead focus on learning – look at your feelings and reactions as opportunities to learn, not to be right. This reframing can change how you see a potentially toxic environment or relationship. 

Why we think you will love it:

This is not a “read and never pick up again” book. This is a guide that you will pick different parts of, work at and then come back to. It is more like a “workbook” than anything else. Reframing thinking is hard, and it a lifelong journey. The realism of this as such and not a “quick fix” is refreshing. We think it will become a staple on your shelf, and become really dog-eared and marked up!

HBR Idea Cast: What Managers Get Wrong about Feedback

Take a listen:

Ashley Goodall and Marcus Buckingham challenge traditional thinking about work “truths” including how we use feedback as a part of our regular activities to get the best from people. Their research points towards instead getting the best from people by focusing on their strengths and making sure people will shine. We love this idea as we believe the best form of feedback will always come from your own assessment of your performance, not someone else’s. Leaders need to make people feel safe to succeed – and focusing on other’s best qualities is one way to get there!

HBR Idea Cast: Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Take a listen:

Amy Edmondson is the leading thinker in psychological safety, and in this podcast she presents her observations on why companies with a more trusting relationship do better than those without. The hallmark of safety is the creation of a learning organization characterized by conversations whre individuals to collectively grow, plan, reflect, solve problems and create a deeper connection with each other. 

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