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Leaders’ picks on leadership books

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Two University of Virginia leaders weigh in on what books you might want on your leadership bookshelf.

Harry Harding, dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, recommends The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership by George Edwards, and Leadership Without Easy Answers by Ronald Heifetz.

Both debate the concept of “transformational leadership,” or bringing about change. Edwards is more pragmatic, advocating “facilitative leadership,” which is more incremental.

Harding also suggests another pair of books, Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens and Why It Matters by Barbara Kellerman, and The Presidential Difference by Fred Greenstein. Both books describe the personal characteristics of leaders, from deal-making to ethics to assertiveness.

Debbie Ryan, UVA’s women’s basketball coach for 35 years, naturally sees leadership as team-building. She likes The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn, the true story of a U.S. Postal Service carrier’s dedication to the customers on his route.

Ryan also picks Everybody Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell, about the arts of persuasion and motivation.

Third, she likes The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann, a parable about generosity.

Ryan has her student-athletes read, discuss and give presentations on their reading. Sometimes they read children’s books, including Yertle the Turtle, about how leadership collapses if leaders disregard their people.

— Adapted from “Summer Reading III: The Many Faces of Leaders and Followers,” Anne Bromley, UVaToday blog, www.virginia.edu.

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