10 Books on Management to Improve Your Management Style

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Managing a team can be complex and requires specific proficiencies and commitment to improvement. Reading books and other resources published by great leaders and renowned authors can help you learn the necessary skills to succeed in a management role. Identifying influential and effective management books to read can help you develop critical managerial skills and improve your management style. In this article, we share a list of some books on management to guide you in advancing your career.

10 books on management

Here's a list of some books on management that can prepare you for a managerial role:

1. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson M.D.

This book recounts a story of an individual in search of a good leader. During this search, the character encounters different management styles. Some leaders with autocratic leadership styles focus on results while their employees struggle. In contrast, other leaders with a democratic approach focus on the employees while the company suffers. The individual finally finds what they have been searching for in a manager who uses the one-minute method. The one-minute management method is a way to set clear expectations and goals for employees that a manager oversees.

For example, if a manager asks an employee to clean a room, they might mean dusting the surfaces, sweeping the floor, or washing windows. In contrast, if the manager instructs the employee to organize shelves and dust surfaces, the instructions are more precise and address particular tasks. After performing the task, there's one minute of praise or one minute of reprimands. During these periods, the manager gives reprimands or credits immediately.

Related: A Guide to Project Management Leadership Styles (With Tips)

2. On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

In this book, Warren Bennis focuses on the individual and helps you master leadership skills while the world changes. This book is the result of an in-depth conversation with a young group of people, including feminist author Betty Friedan, director Sydney Pollack, and Herb Alpert, musician and playwright. The book's central theme discusses that good leaders focus on performance and challenging themselves rather than proving themselves. Bennis explains that true leaders focus on expressing themselves fully, and focusing on self-promotion represents a rigid and limited vision.

The author further explains that being a good leader requires constantly being curious and learning, appreciating reality, having a valid vision, and considering big ideas. It's also essential for leaders to take bold risks, accept uncertainty, have integrity, be independent and creative, enjoy small successes, develop the ability to share their vision, and inspire others to follow them.

Related: A Guide to Management Models, Including Examples of Types

3. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet

This book is essential for leaders who understand the importance of improving their leadership skills. The book tells the author's story and journey as the captain of the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe from 1999 to 2001. The author describes the crew's previous struggles as one of the Navy's worst-performing submarines. During this time, the team practised the traditional top-down management technique with the leader-follower system. As a result, the team had limited decision-making powers and didn't apply their energy, intellect, and passion.

In the book, Marquet provided an example of a time when, after giving an impossible order, the crew tried to execute it and had near-disastrous results. After inquiring why they followed the order, they replied, "because you told me to." After this incident, the author adopted a different management system that offered those under him autonomy to perform their duties and responsibility for their tasks. This new system used the leader-leader model and considerably improved the team's efficiency, effectiveness, and morale. Under this model, David Marquet implemented control, clarity, and competence for the whole crew.

Related: How to Answer "What's Your Management Style?" in an Interview

4. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't by Simon Sinek

In all eight sections of this book, Simon Sinek uses a storytelling approach to discuss the importance of leadership. The book begins by explaining its title. In this explanation, the author cites Marine Corps General Flynn's account of why senior officers eat last. Simon also discusses stories of actions leaders have done correctly and provides examples of those leaders may not do. This book benefits leaders who aspire to provide an environment where the employees' well-being is paramount.

The biggest highlight of the book is Sinek's idea called the "Circle of Safety." In this circle, it's essential for leaders to create conditions where employees feel protected from competition for jobs, criticism, toxicity, and layoffs. Essentially, employees may only worry about external threats rather than internal ones. The author further posits that if all parties collaborate and work toward protecting each other from external threats, it increases the chances of not only survival but thriving and prospering.

Related: Guidelines on Effective Leadership in the Workplace

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

In this book, Dale Carnegie provides a guide for individuals interested in improving their relationships with others. The author teaches that building connections with others is a skill, not a natural talent. People can improve this skill by being intentional in their efforts and honest about their shortcomings. Although Dale Carnegie wrote this book in 1936, its principles are still relevant in modern life. Some of the key tenets this book outlines include:

  • fundamental techniques for handling people

  • six ways to make people like you

  • how to win people over to your way of thinking

  • how to change people by being a leader

Related: How to Develop Friendships at Work (And What to Consider)

6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

The book begins with an explanation of how most individuals who achieve high external success struggle with an inner desire to develop personal effectiveness and establish healthy relationships with others. The author argues that humans view the world based on individual perception. To change a situation, it's essential for an individual to change themselves, which requires changing their perceptions. Authentic leadership comes from within, and it's essential for a good leader first to manage their inner well-being, cultivate self-control, and create a personal vision. After this, they can begin to influence others.

Related: 14 Leadership Activities for Professional Development

7. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John Maxwell

In the book, John Maxwell discusses 21 thoughts, lessons, principles, and insights gained from years of leading and teaching others. The author argues that these laws are irrefutable, there are different perspectives on leadership, and it's essential for an excellent leader to follow these 21 laws. Some of the irrefutable laws of leadership discussed in this book include:

  • the law of the lid

  • the law of influence

  • the law of navigation

  • the law of addition

  • the law of solid ground

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

8. Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey B. Mackay

In this book, Harvey B. Mackay, a self-made millionaire, provides practical advice on motivating employees and outselling your competition. It's a short read that provides useful and practical ideas. The author divided the book into 69 short lessons, 19 quick segments, and some special chapters focused on ensuring your success. The book's central theme discusses how understanding others can help you achieve your goals. For example, it's essential to learn about negotiating with sellers to ensure you get the best deals, meet customers' demands, and fulfill the needs of other employees.

9. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by the Arbinger Institute

This book discusses a fictional story about a new manager in an organization and how it's essential for the manager to tackle the problem of self-deception to adapt to the company's culture. The book further explains that individuals can improve the hiring process, team building, leadership, conflict resolution, transformation, and personal growth and development by ending the practise of self-deception. The book encourages the reader to find solutions by accepting their responsibility for problems rather than blaming other situations.

Related: The Importance of Leadership and Culture in Organizations

10. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

In this book, Liz Wiseman explains how multipliers can have a profitable and positive effect on organizations. The author goes further to distinguish between multipliers and diminishers. Liz Wiseman states that multipliers attract and develop talents, achieve more with fewer resources, innovate, and drive organizational change by cultivating new ideas. In contrast, diminishers drain the innovation and creativity of their teams. The author provides experiments, practical tips, and steps the reader can take to build a multiplier culture and become a multiplier.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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