Top 12 Recommended Books for Leaders & Managers

SerialTrainer7 has two main pillars to it’s business, Sales and Management and the latter takes up at least 50% of delivery and coaching for my clients. During every course I take along a selection of books that I think supplement the training and give some extra development to the delegates. The list I present to you here is just a sample of my vast collection, I spend so much money on books it is obscene, but to me each is a treasure and if I learn one good thing then it is worthwhile, believe me I have read my share of truly awful (most of them sadly USA based) motivational management crap, however what sets this group apart is their straightforward, practical nature and applicable skills to the day to day manager.


And so to accompany my recommended reading list for Sales People here is another list of recommended reading, this time for those working as or thinking of working in management.  Each of these books represents experience and is light on the traditional management model; to qualify that if you are looking for stuff on Herzberg, Maslow or McGregor then these are not for you. If however you seek enlightenment from people who are on the sharp end of management and actually doing then read on.

The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard.

Arguably one of the finest and most practical of all the management books out there and currently it is available in a new updated version.  It covers the day to day aspects of appraisal, reprimand and goal setting and for new managers or those who might have lost their way, this is essential. I give this book to many of my delegates and coachees as it simply works.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves.

Most managers talk about Emotional Intelligence or E.Q. as it is often referred to, but many of them have not the faintest idea as to what it is when they are questioned. They often believe it has ‘something to do with empathising or the like’ and this really gets me cross as it is so much more and it plays a massive role in all businesses.  This book easily breaks it down and makes it applicable. It has a sister book too called Leadership 2.0 and they both work really well together. This book is perfect for those managers feeling out of touch with the people who work for them or senior managers and Board members who simply do not live in the real world!

Sales Management Simplified, Mike Weinberg

Wow! it is about time a book on this subject has been written that actually talks sensibly about sales managers and helps them to get the best from the their teams and ultimately get them making money. This is new book and any Senior Sales Exec or Account Manager should have this book in their library. As for seasoned Sales Managers, I think this will open their eyes to new world.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni

The content of this book plays a role in my Management Essential course as it clearly and concisely illustrates why things go wrong with teams. It makes for light bulb moment reading and I have experienced many managers who have had the Ta-Dah! moment for themselves after reading it. If you want to understand a team from a different perspective then you could a lot worse than read this. Terrific stuff.

Team Roles at Work, R. Meredith Belbin

I have long been an advocate of anything by Belbin. His team roles profiling tool is without exception the most effective out there for my money. Here Belbin takes the roles he sets out in his profiling and puts them to work, demonstrating the effects and how to manage them effectively. This book is perfect for helping with specific contributions from team members. Furthermore, by understanding the team better helps any manager to recruit the right person for the role not the person who is most like themselves.

The Coaching Secret, Andrew Machon

Shhh it’s a secret! I am not usually a fan of anything labelled with ‘secret’ but this book, however, opened my eyes to new techniques and practices that can make a different to anyone offering coaching or mentoring either as part of their role as a manager or professionally as a business coach. Clear and well laid out it won’t take too long to read, but you will find yourself coming back to it again, it demands your time and what you get is so worth it.

The Manager’s Diary, The Manager’s Diary 2 and The 7 Deadly Sins of Leadership, Cameron Morrissey

Without doubt, the most relevant, insightful and real manager ever to be published. Cameron Morrissey to me is a legend. You get three here and they are bloody fantastic. Cameron Morrissey has his own website too listed at the end of this sentence, check it out. What I like most is that he is not frightened to own up to mistakes and errors that we all have made and show us how he has put things right. He shares his struggles and successes and you get the feeling that you are in the same boat and that you are just muddling by, you are the same. The two Manager’s Diary books are a best of, and the Deadly Sins book looks at Leadership in terms of how leaders behave and how to put bad behaviours right. This is essential reading.

The Three Levels of Leadership, James Scouller

This is another recent release and with so many books published on the subject of leadership it is important that the best ones get a mention. This one is great, it break leadership down into workable chunks; personal, private and public leadership that actually mean something rather than all the flannel and BS that is swims around. Ideal for those experienced managers who are looking to develop this element of their role further or are looking for something more tangible to add to their credibility.

Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek has a very engaging way of writing that keeps you turning the pages and coming back for more. He says that “Leaders are the ones who run headfirst into the unknown, they rush toward danger and would sooner sacrifice what is theirs to sacrifice what is ours and that they would never sacrifice what is ours to save what is theirs.” See what I mean. Great huh, and that is just a snippet. Get this book it is one of the greats.

Lead From the Heart, Mark C.Crowley

I stumbled upon this book whilst I was in the USA and something about it just resonated with me. I knew it was going to be good when I had filled my copy with post it notes and writing in the white spaces, so bought another one for reference. Passion, Happiness and Engagement are the key themes to this book and it works so well with the other two books I have recommended on the subject of leadership.

Naturally there are so many books out there that it is tricky to pick all the best ones, but these would make a good start for anyone. Please feel free to contact me for other recommendations, by doing so I could save you a lot of wasted money!

Thanks for reading, and if you would like to have your managers trained in effective management and leadership skills, then contact me Simon at or call me on 07979 537824

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