Joy Kim

Librarian. Book Reviewer. Coffee Addict.

Leadership and management reading list

It’s been a little over two years since I accepted my first job with formal supervisory responsibilities. These days I supervise 12 direct reports and manage a building with 25 staff. So it’s fair to say that I have a lot of thoughts on the importance of good management and leadership.

As many of my friends and peers have gone through the same transition, I’ve often found myself recommending the following books and articles. I read a couple of them when I was still pursuing that first promotion, so I have to thank the mentors who recommended them to me. I’ve also reread most of them, either in whole or in part, and found them still informative the second (or third) time around.

I’m presenting this list with minimal commentary, because if I try to write annotations, it will likely never get posted.

  • The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company by Ram Charan
  • Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Getting Results by Alison Green and Jerry Hauser.
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson et al.
  • Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior by Kerry Patterson et al. (First edition called Crucial Confrontations.)
  • “Managing Yourself: Zoom In, Zoom Out” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

As a bonus, here are a couple other books on business and productivity that I’ve found useful or thought-provoking.

  • Get Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen – because if you can’t manage yourself, how can you manage others? I don’t implement a complete GTD system, but what I do really helps me manage my workload.
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins (really, I like anything by Jim Collins)

What I’m reading now: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. It comes highly recommended. Maybe it will end up on my rec list in the future!

And yep, none of these books are library-specific. I do enjoy reading blog posts and articles on library leadership and management, and I know at least one person doing really interesting research on it. But I also think it’s important for library leaders to be willing to look outside our industry for best practices and research.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

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