In a brief and lively read, Your Afternoon Mentor offers insight, advice, stories, and observations on landing and leading a life in senior leadership.
Your Afternoon Mentor has compiled a brief but important reading list for those who seek larger roles in their career journey.
Becoming an executive is a mindset - a realization that you have to let go of the tactical and move to the strategic. This transition takes a little time, a little experience and a fair amount of effort to develop new skills.
You will never stop learning to lead. But you can get your executive career off to a great start by learning more about your strengths, the basics of social and written skills, negotiating, persuading others, conducting difficult conversations and navigation organization politics.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT - A lot of success in work and life comes down to how likable you are and how comfortable people are around you. Be interested in others, and give them space to express themselves. Use a light touch, and treat everyone with respect, regardless of their status or what they can do for you.
Executives with strong social skills create community and harmony. They excel at influencing and negotiating. They take care in being inclusive, avoiding favoritism, and slicing the pie so everyone gets a piece of resources or attention. Set yourself apart by easily connecting with people from all walks of life.
DESCRIPTION - Millions of people around the world have - and continue to - improve their lives based on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. In "How to Win Friends and Influence People", Carnegie offers practical advice and techniques, in his exuberant and conversational style, for how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding. His advice has stood the test of time and will teach you how to: make friends quickly and easily; increase your popularity; win people to your way of thinking; enable you to win new clients and customers; become a better speaker and a more entertaining conversationalist; and, arouse enthusiasm among your colleagues. This book will turn around your relationships and improve your dealings with all the people in your life.
FIND - How to Win Friends and Influence People on Amazon
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT - Leaders, and the people they lead, all have a unique mix of strengths and weaknesses. The key to maximizing your effectiveness with others is understanding what those strengths are. This knowledge helps you invest in your development. It also helps you assemble a team with a balanced and comprehensive set of skills. People follow leaders for very specific reasons. Best to know what those reasons are early in your leadership career.
DESCRIPTION - More than a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. Since then, more than 23 million people have taken Gallup’s Clifton Strengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) assessment, which forms the core of several books on this topic, including the #1 international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0.
In recent years, while continuing to learn more about strengths, Gallup scientists have also been examining decades of data on the topic of leadership. They studied more than 1 million work teams, conducted more than 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and even interviewed more than 10,000 followers around the world to ask exactly why they followed the most important leader in their life.
Gallup reveals the results of this research in Strengths Based Leadership. Based on Gallup’s discoveries, the book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.
As you read Strengths Based Leadership, you’ll hear firsthand accounts from some of the most successful organizational leaders in recent history, from the founder of Teach For America to the president of The Ritz-Carlton, as they discuss how their unique strengths have driven their success. Filled with novel research and actionable ideas, Strengths Based Leadership will give you a new road map for leading people toward a better future.
FIND - Strengths Based Leadership on Amazon
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT - In 1995, the New York Times writer Daniel Goleman summarized and organized decades of research about how our feelings and emotions impact behavior. With it, he created a book called Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Since then, so-called EQ has played a prominent role in leadership and executive development training and coaching.
Goleman and other psychologists posit our ability to perceive our environment and understand and manage our feelings and emotions in the environment can actually be more important than our raw intellectual horsepower. Learn more about the key elements of EQ in one of the first important books written on this topic.
DESCRIPTION - Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman's brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our “two minds”—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny.
Drawing on groundbreaking brain and behavioral research, Goleman shows the factors at work when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well. These factors, which include self-awareness, self-discipline, and empathy, add up to a different way of being smart—and they aren’t fixed at birth. Although shaped by childhood experiences, emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened throughout our adulthood—with immediate benefits to our health, our relationships, and our work.
The twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of Emotional Intelligence could not come at a better time—we spend so much of our time online, more and more jobs are becoming automated and digitized, and our children are picking up new technology faster than we ever imagined. With a new introduction from the author, the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition prepares readers, now more than ever, to reach their fullest potential and stand out from the pack with the help of EI.
FIND - Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ on Amazon
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT – Every organization has politics—not because they are good or bad, but because they are organizations. They can be small riffles on the water in one place and Class IV rapids in another. Every boatman will tell you to meet the waves head on. Remember the importance of authenticity, networking, and relationships. Over time, you’ll develop a feel for the currents. This book, written by my former colleague at the University of Arizona (I forgive her), will supercharge your understanding of this tricky topic.
DESCRIPTION- Good things do not always come to good people who deliver on their promises, act with integrity, and behave responsibly. Unfortunately, it takes more than a strong work ethic and long hours to get ahead or even survive in most organizations. Organizational survival often requires mastering organizational politics. But how are we supposed to learn how to navigate the often-treacherous world of tight coalitions, unwritten rules, and secret agendas?
The Organizational Politics Playbook has the answers and includes fifty practical strategies that include how to:
While this book addresses predictable strategies such as creating fear, using coercion, and engaging in manipulation, it does so only to make sure you recognize them. Allison Vaillancourt believes we must know the dirty tricks of politics in order to combat them.
FIND - The Organizational Politics Playbook: 50 Strategies to Navigate Power Dynamics on Amazon
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT - Though we live in a time of terse tweets, pithy Linked In posts and fleeting Facebook comments, writing remains an essential skill for anyone who aspires to a role in senior leadership. People judge your intellect, your values, your mood and your commitment to the moment in large part by how you express yourself. Learn to communicate clearly and convincingly on all topics great and small and watch your profile in an organization grow.
DESCRIPTION - On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet.
Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sold, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.
FIND - On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Non-fiction on Amazon
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT - Negotiating is a skill that helps you obtain what you want in a way that preserves relationships with, and the dignity of, others in your daily interactions. But it is not a skill that comes naturally to most of us. You cannot grow a career unless you learn the basics. And if you become good at this, others might not even know you are doing it.
DESCRIPTION - This books is a straightforward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting taken - and without getting angry.
It offers a concise, step-by-step, proven strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict - whether it involves parents and children, neighbors, bosses and employees, customers or corporations, tenants or diplomats. Based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals continually with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution, from domestic to business to international, Getting to Yes tells you how to:
FIND - Getting to Yes on Amazon
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT - Senior leadership requires a letting go of the tactical and an embrace of the strategic. As you accumulate power, you will be surprised to learn people aren’t going to do something enthusiastically simply because you asked (told?) them to. Most executives will tell you they spend a great deal of time and effort simply winning – influencing - people to their point of view. Jump start your influencing skills by understanding the psychological underpinnings that dictate why someone decides to follow you –or not.
DESCRIPTION - In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini—New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion—explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don’t have to be a scientist to learn how to use this science.
You’ll learn Cialdini’s Universal Principles of Influence, including new research and new uses so you can become an even more skilled persuader—and just as importantly, you’ll learn how to defend yourself against unethical influence attempts. You may think you know these principles, but without understanding their intricacies, you may be ceding their power to someone else.
Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion:
Understanding and applying the principles ethically is cost-free and deceptively easy. Backed by Dr. Cialdini’s 35 years of evidence-based, peer-reviewed scientific research—including a three-year field study on what leads people to change—Influence is a comprehensive guide to using these principles to move others in your direction.
FIND - Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion on Amazon
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT - We tend to be conflict avoidant in our lives. It is uncomfortable for us to confront those we love, those we work for and those who can help us. The result is a less-than optimal life at home and work. This book will give you workable ideas and strategies to deal with what must be dealt with in many aspects of life.
DESCRIPTION - Learn how to keep your cool and get the results you want when emotions flare.
When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. Crucial Conversations gives you the tools you need to step up to life's most difficult and important conversations, say what's on your mind, and achieve the positive resolutions you want. You'll learn how to:
Whether they take place at work or at home, with your neighbors or your spouse, crucial conversations can have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills you learn in this book, you'll never have to worry about the outcome of a crucial conversation again.
FIND - Crucial Conversations - Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High on Amazon