I often get the question “what are the best new manager books to read?” so I figured I would post them all on this blog so that I can save us all some time and refer people to this link. 🙂 Please note that all links are affiliate links and that none of these authors has paid me to endorse their book (nor do they even know I am doing so). Without further ado, here are my top book recommendations for anyone who is a new or aspiring leader, in no particular order:

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
What IS a leader in the first place? It’s hard to emulate the qualities if you’re not first clear what a leader is. This book by one of my all-time favorite authors, Simon Sinek, answers that question with what I found to be fascinating research ranging from the military to neuroscience and biology.
Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For: a Guide for New Leaders
What I love about this book by Bill Gentry, PhD (a fellow Emory alum!) is how simple, research-based, and accurate (at least in my experience) the framework he presents is. In his book, he encourages new managers to “flip their script” to re-orient their style from one of an individual contributor to the mindset of one who is leading others. When I read the statistic in this book that 60% of first-time managers receive no training, it lit a fire in me to do something about that!
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
For me, this book is a classic. Although it is not a book on how to manage per se, I put it in this list because, unless you’re hiring a team from scratch, you’re probably going to start your management journey by leading a team that has some sort of dysfunction. Pretty much any dysfunction your team might be experiencing can be found in Patrick Lencioni’s book, which is written in fable format for a quick and easy read. Pay close attention to how the new leader in this book handles the various situations and builds trust among her team as you read it.
The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace
This book was a game-changer for me. Have you ever given someone a gift, or told them they were doing a good job, and felt like they brushed it off? Here’s the thing: we know that the ideal ratio for positive to negative feedback is nearly SIX to one, but did you know those positive pieces of feedback might go unnoticed if you don’t speak in your direct report’s “appreciation language?” It’s frankly hard enough to think of that many nice things to say when you’re putting fires out all day (not because your employees aren’t great, but because we’re all busy), so I definitely wanted all of them to “count!”
(If you’ll be hiring) The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues
For anyone who’s new to hiring, or looking to hire people with a stronger cultural fit on your team, this is my go-to book. I used the principles in this book to identify new hires who were “hungry, humble, and smart” and two years later, the team culture is stronger than ever.

What are some of YOUR favorite books on this topic? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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