The Best Leadership Book

In nearly twenty-five years of writing about, speaking about, coaching and facilitating leadership, clients often ask me, ‘What is the best leadership book?’ or ‘If I was to read one leadership book, what would it be?’

Best is subjective and depends on where a leader is on their journey. For me, leadership always starts with self-leadership or personal mastery. After all, how can you lead others if you can’t lead yourself?

Prior to writing, ‘Self Leadership – How to be a more successful, efficient, and effective leader from the inside out (McGraw Hill 2012’, I would have said the best self-leadership book would have been ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. 7 Habits is still a must-read for self and time management.

But what about the best leadership book? There are so many, and each covers different definitions of leadership; some are more strategic focus, whereas others are strictly about management. I would include anything by Peter Drucker in this last category.

In 2020, the Chief People Officer at Planful Inc., Mel Dreuth, asked me if I could write a leadership book for their people managers. Planful inc. is a Silicon Valley financial planning and analysis (FP&A) software company. I had been coaching the CEO and the Executive Leadership Team, but Mel wanted a leadership framework and training for the middle and frontline managers to create a strong culture – The Planful Way.

I accepted the challenge and began to think about what would be essential to cover? What would be effective? And what could be easily applied?

The New Leadership Playbook

With input from Mel, and Planful’s CEO, Grant Halloran, The Planful Way was written, printed, and handed to every manager in the company. This handbook provides a strong anchor for culture and creates a consistency with how goal setting and feedback are given for each employee.

I had retained the intellectual property for my contribution and set about expanding the text to address the challenges managers and leaders are facing, living and working through with COVID-19. Working from home, new ways of meeting and collaborating, new technologies and automation mean we need a new leadership playbook.

Leadership has always been about delivering results. I believe New Leadership is about balancing humanity with accelerated results. To achieve this, managers need principles and plays that are effective and simple to apply.

That is the book I set out to write, and I’m excited that the publication date is May 16, 2022. Whether this is the best leadership book will be very much up to you and my critics to decide, but as I wrote it, I focused on the problems that my clients have faced and are still facing.

“The New Leadership Playbook weaves powerful principles and proven strategies to empower leaders to unlock potential and accelerate growth in today’s increasingly accelerated, uncertain and competitive world.  Written with deep insight, heart and humor, Andrew Bryant has unpacked theory into practical plays you can immediately apply to lead yourself and others to higher ground. Read, apply, and reap the results."
- Dr Margie Warrell, Senior Partner, Korn Ferry CEO & Leadership and Bestselling Author of Stop Playing Safe and You’ve Got This! 

Thousands of coaching conversations with managers and C-level executives and dialogues with human resources and learning and development professionals gave me insights into the common problems leaders face and the solutions they need. I paid particular attention to the principles and practices that could be learned and applied in our current and future environment. Or, as one of the reviewers of an early draft called it, ‘An MBA in a day!’

 “Andrew Bryant’s latest book, The New Leadership Playbook, is not only a delight to read, but also a ‘right-for-the-moment’ guide to what it takes to be a leader right now, as we recognize the need to build a new leadership model for a new world.
- Andrea T Edwards, author, Uncommon Courage: an invitation.

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