Best Leadership Books for Frontline Leaders

I’m always being asked for recommendations on the best leadership books for frontline leaders. I share my favorites with you throughout my posts, so this time I thought I’d ask the Let’s Grow Leaders Community. I cast the best leadership book net in all my online communities, asking “what one book would you recommend for new leaders.” I also asked my own team for their views on most impactful leadership books in their journey. I am happy to share some of their favorites (all titles include links).

“The first thing would be to give them a library card because, if they stop reading, they will stop leading effectively.”

 Top 10 Leadership Books for Frontline Leaders*

  1. The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes and Pozner)
  2. Leadership and Self-Deception (Arbinger Institute)
  3. Who Moved My Cheese (Spencer Johnson)
  4. The Speed of Trust (and other books by Stephen Covey)
  5. How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
  6. Bud to Boss (Kevin Eikenberry)
  7. The First 90 Days (Michael Watkins)
  8. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done (Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan)
  9. The 21 Indespensable Qualites of a Leader (and other books by John Maxwell)
  10. Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman)

Bonus: The Holy Bible (God et al)

As nominated by various LinkedIn Groups, Google Plus Groups, Twitter, and Let’s Grow Leaders Facebook Page

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Posted in Career & Learning and tagged , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.


  1. Ha! I thought messed something up yesterday. Thanks for the heads up!

    Great list! I’ve read a few of these, but there’s several more here that I’m going to add to my pile of must reads.


  2. Although this is a bit late in the game, I’d recommend to anyone who whats to understand leadership and business the book by Peter Drucker – The Essential Drucker. As you may know, he’s the guy who really started the discipline of “management” in which he includes leadership. I’m reading it now and have gained a great understanding of business in general.

  3. Great list, but is pretty iffy on whether you’d recommend The Bible for a new leader, unless you knew her/him personally in this regard. Still think “Conscious Business” belongs on this list, it is my “Bible.”

  4. Susan, thanks so much for adding that. I totally agree, I would not give out the Bible in a corporate environment. It was intriguing to me how many people added it to the list. It came in about #4. Since I didn’t see how I could rate the Bible on a stack rank, that’s why I added it as a “bonus” 😉

  5. Pingback: 9 Ways to Maximize Your College Leadership Experience - Let's Grow Leaders

  6. Thank you Karin I am always looking for additional leadership books. I also received some great ones from Leadership Freak. Two books that really resonate for me “The Anatomy of Peace,” The Arbinger Institute and “The Power of Full Engagement,” Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

    Sue Bock

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