Do you want to improve your leadership skills? What are some of the best leadership resources to learn from?
There are hundreds of leadership resources on the web that claim to be the best when it comes to leadership development. As with everything, the best sources are always the ones that speak from firsthand experience.
That was exactly our criteria when compiling this list of the best leadership resources, including books, blogs, and podcasts.
Best Leadership Resources
Every successful leader knows that leadership is a non-stop quest. Whether it’s a trusted blog, a bestselling book, or a weekly podcast that brings lessons the world’s greatest leaders learned on their journey, there are many ways to hone your leadership skills.
Here are Shortform picks of the best leadership resources, including books, blogs, and podcasts.
Best Leadership Blogs
There are tons of leadership blogs on the internet. No matter what aspects of leadership you are interested in—whether it’s organizational, psychological, or cultural—there’s no shortage of blogs that talk about it.
Here is our roundup of the best leadership blogs, in no particular order, to guide you on your career development path.
Leadership Freak is run by Dan Rockwell, one of the most recognized and prolific thinkers on leadership. According to the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness, his blog is the most shared leadership blog online. His posts are just 300 words long, keeping up with his slogan “empowering leaders 300 words at a time.”
Seth Godin is a well-known public speaker, bestselling author, and the founder of altMBA, an intensive 31-day online workshop on leadership skills. His blog is insanely popular, with 7,000 posts so far. Seth writes about leadership, marketing, media, and personal development. His posts are always short, concise, and to-the-point, with no fluff.
A bestselling author (The One Minute Manager) and the founder of leadership training company The Ken Blanchard Companies, Ken Blanchard is an esteemed figure in the field of leadership. His posts are short, clear, and thought-provoking, covering all things leadership, from servant leadership principles to increasing happiness in the workplace.
On People Education, Jennifer V. Miller, a writer, and a leadership development consultant, blogs about “how to make the most of interactions with your boss, peers, and colleagues.” Her insights are backed up by decades of leadership experience and reinforced by a background in educational psychology.
Random Acts of Leadership is run by Susan Mazza, an author, speaker, and leadership expert. She designed her own leadership development methodology called Speak Up Step Up Stand Up™ which she teaches in her signature Leading in Action System. On her blog, she writes about general leadership, personal leadership, leading organizations, and inspiration & motivation.
Dan McCarthy is a leadership coach who works with organizations and individuals to help them improve their leadership competencies. Contributions to his award-winning blog Great Leadership by Dan come from renowned and highly esteemed real-world leaders. A collection of the best blog posts written by Dan himself is available in the form of a downloadable e-book The Great Leadership Development and Succession Planning Kit.
Tanveer Naseer is a keynote leadership speaker and the CEO of the leadership training company Tanveer Naseer Leadership. On his blog, he shares his insights on pertinent issues in leadership. His wisdom and impact have got him onto the “100 Great Leadership Speakers” list by Inc. Magazine.
Leadership Insights is run by Skip Prichard, a CEO, best-selling author, and a keynote speaker on leadership. Skip has run companies at almost every stage of the business cycle, from startups to established organizations turning in billions of dollars. He blogs about leadership, personal development, and corporate culture.
Lazy Leader by Martin Webster is an independent publication whose mission is to help new leaders and managers cultivate the skills and attributes of a true leader. Martin’s leadership philosophy is premised on what he calls “productive laziness”—finding easy ways to do the hard stuff. He blogs about leadership skills, project management, leading through change, and more.
Randy Conley is the vice president and trust practice leader for the leadership development firm The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is a well-known leadership expert with a focus on building trust in the workplace. He blogs about best leadership practices, with an emphasis on team dynamics.
Best Leadership Podcasts
Listening to leadership podcasts is great if you like consuming content on the go (e.g. during your morning run or while driving to work). What are the best leadership podcasts to listen to? It depends on what aspect of leadership you are interested in. Do you want to learn about cross-cultural leadership? Visionary leadership? Or are you just getting to grips with leadership theory?
Here is our collection of the best leadership podcasts to follow in 2022.
With over 30 years of practical leadership experience, Richard Rierson is a well-recognized leadership speaker, coach, and consultant. His leadership philosophy emphasizes courage, confidence, and composure. His podcast Dose of Leadership has been running for nine years and it’s regularly a top 25 Business Management Podcast on Apple Podcasts. In every episode, he invites leaders from all aspects of life and interviews them for advice and strategies for success.
Leadership Biz Cafe with Tanveer Naseer interviews renowned leaders on their approach to tackling common challenges today’s leaders face. Inc. Magazine described Tanveer’s podcast as being “like you’re sitting down for a cup of coffee with two leadership experts to learn about how to become that leader our employees need us to be.”
The EntreLeadership Podcast with Ramsey Solutions Personality and personal finance expert George Kamel is a weekly podcast that interviews America’s top speakers, authors, leaders, and entrepreneurs on the lessons they’ve learned on their entrepreneurship and leadership journeys.
Skip Richards believes that leadership potential lies in all of us and his podcast Aim Higher is focused on helping us discover and reach it to the fullest. Every episode, he invites recognized and thought-provoking leaders and gets them to share their insights on what it takes to win in business and leadership.
On Lead to Win, Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller, the founders of the performance coaching company Full Focus, discuss leadership and personal development. The Hyatts believe that you can achieve extraordinary results without sacrificing your core values, and that’s the sentiment they want to inspire in their audience.
The Leadership and Loyalty Show with Dov Baron, one of the Top 100 Leadership Speakers to Hire by Inc. Magazine, is the top Fortune 500 Podcast. In this show, Dov Baron and his guests—renowned and highly esteemed leaders from all walks of life—discuss the highs and lows of their leadership journeys.
Coaching for Leaders with Dr. Dave Stachowiak has been running since 2011. According to Dave, leaders aren’t born, they’re made. On his podcast, he interviews authors, speakers, leaders, and researchers on how to cultivate the skills and attributes modern leaders need.
Best Leadership Books
Reading leadership books will help you get deeper insights into leadership and explore how real-world leaders have applied leadership theory in various contexts. The best leadership books address things like how to motivate your team to consistently deliver their best, how to lead through change, how to set goals, manage risk, and more.
Here are our picks of the best leadership books from our Shortform library.
In their book The Leadership Challenge, bestselling authors and longtime research partners James Kouzes and Barry Posner discuss what it takes to become the kind of leader that other people want to follow. They have compiled thousands of case studies and millions of responses to surveys over decades, and have used them to distill leadership into five overall principles supported by 10 concrete guidelines.
What makes a good leader? Some say you’ll know one when you see one; others confuse being a leader with simply having a title. In The 5 Levels of Leadership, John C. Maxwell gives a shape and form to something seemingly indefinable and provides a roadmap to help you reach your full leadership potential.
If you want to accomplish anything on a large scale, you have to learn to lead a team. What makes leadership difficult, however, is the fact that every quality of a good leader becomes a hindrance when taken to the extreme: At a certain point, courage, discipline, and empathy all become deficiencies like recklessness, rigidness, and emotional paralysis. Thus, leadership requires a delicate balance of various dichotomies: You must be compassionate yet pragmatic, humble yet confident, bold yet cautious. The Dichotomy of Leadership teaches you to master such dichotomies.
Do you want to make a difference in the lives of others? Do you want to change the world? To do anything meaningful, you’re going to have to work with people. And if you’re working with people, you need to know how to lead them.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is a guide to the major principles of leadership. Learn how to connect with and influence people. Learn how to empower others and build an all-star leadership team. And learn how to create a succession plan and leave a legacy.
Vulnerability is all too often engineered out of today’s work cultures, in a bid to make employees more efficient and less susceptible to emotions—but brave leaders who have the courage to allow vulnerability are essential to thriving work cultures.
Dare to Lead breaks down the four courage-building skills that make up brave leadership, so that you can create an organization that takes risk, uncertainty, and failure in stride. You’ll learn how to lead your team in engaging with vulnerability, acting with integrity, having more productive and honest conversations, and moving on quickly from failure—skills that will allow your work culture to meet today’s ever-increasing innovative and creative demands.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable explores how teams fail to work cohesively together through a dynamic, five-part model of dysfunction. The five dysfunctions are 1) absence of trust, 2) fear of conflict, 3) lack of commitment, 4) avoidance of accountability, and 5) inattention to results. Through identifying these root causes of poor teamwork, teams can develop specific strategies for overcoming each of them. By doing this, they will become comfortable with one another, be willing to engage in constructive debate, achieve clarity and buy-in around team priorities, hold one another to high standards, and focus on team results instead of individual ambition.
Factories are some of the most efficient, high-output operations in existence—they churn out products continuously, on tight schedules, using hundreds of workers. The field of leadership has plenty in common with factories, and leaders can learn a lot from their operations. Just like a factory, a manager has output, which is equal to the output of her team. Her team’s output is generated by her activities and how much effect—or leverage—they have.
In High Output Management, former CEO of Intel Andrew Grove applies manufacturing principles to management. In this book, you’ll learn which management activities to prioritize, how to increase their effectiveness, how to do them faster, and how to scale them.
Self-deception—our tendency to see the world around us in a distorted way—is a common personal and organizational problem. Leadership and Self-Deception explains how self-deception derails personal relationships and keeps organizations and leaders from achieving the results they want. Instead of focusing on producing results, many leaders are trapped “in the box” of distorted thinking—they blame others to justify their own failures and can’t see how they themselves are a problem. They create the “people” problems that plague many organizations. Through a business fable, this book tells leaders how to get “out of the box”—but you don’t have to be a leader to use the principles to change your life and workplace.
Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. In Principles: Work and Life, he shares the guiding principles powering his success and Bridgewater’s.
Principles is a manual for rational thinking. The main theme is that finding truth is the best way to make decisions, and that ego, emotion, and blind spots prevent you from discovering the truth. Dalio shares his major strategies to circumvent these weaknesses, including total receptivity, extreme honesty and transparency, productive conflict, and credibility-centered decision-making.
In The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene asserts that whether you like it or not, you’re part of a never-ending game of power. You’re either striving for and wielding power, or you’re a pawn being played by someone more powerful than you. You choose your role.
This book is for those who prefer to be players rather than pawns. To turn you from an amateur into a master player, Greene has codified 48 laws of power based on historical examples of people who’ve excelled or failed at wielding power, with glorious or bloody results (or both).
Leadership goes well beyond titles. Leadership is about character and actions that inspire. True leaders are those who recognize, manifest, and hone their skills, knowing that leadership is a non-stop quest. To help you progress on this quest, we’ve compiled a collection of the best leadership resources, including the books, blogs, and podcasts listed above.
We hope these leadership resources will inspire and motivate you to become the best leader you can be.
Did we miss out on your favorite leadership book, blog, or podcast? Let us know in the comments!