My recent postings are about how testers can develop their leadership skills. I have shared a few books that have helped me in my career and today I would like to share a few more books. I hope that you are working on finding opportunities to develop your leadership skills. Remember it is okay to start with something small and then continue to build upon your successes.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell (10th anniversary edition)
John discusses 21 laws of leadership with stories of leaders who were successful and those that were not and why they failed. At the end of this book, John provides a leadership evaluation based upon the 21 laws. This assessment allows you to determine where you would like to make changes or the skills you need to add to your leadership team since no one will excel in all 21 areas. This is a good book for both self-assessment of leadership skills while understanding why other leaders succeeded or failed in certain areas. I always enjoy reading stories about other leaders to help me refine my leadership approaches.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Stephen Covey talks about making a “paradigm shift” in your life, which is a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. It is important that you take time to study this book in order to understand and apply the seven habits. Below are the seven habits. Plus you can read more about them through Amazon and Wikipedia.
The first three habits deal with self-mastery: Be Proactive; Begin with the end in mind; and Put first things first.
The next three habits deal with working with others: Think win-win; Seek first to understand, then to be understood; Synergize (combining the strengths of other people).
The final habit is: Sharpen the saw, which is basically creating an environment of physical and mental renewal.
This is a good book if you are looking to dive deeper into self-awareness and change. But you will need some serious time to work through and apply the material.
Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton
This book provides insight on your strengths and talents through an Internet assessment called StrengthsFinder ® Profile. The assessment is a product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. This book is good if you want to learn more about the gifts you are born with and how to tap into those skills.
Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham
This book expands upon your strengths and talents as identified in “Now Discover Your Strengths” through a six-week evolving plan to further develop them. There is an online assessment called “The Strengths Engagement Track” to help you understand how effectively and consistently you are tapping into your strengths. You take the assessment at the beginning and at the end of the program. This assessment is used with the six-week program. This book is good if you are looking for a structured program to tap into your talents. If a team is using this approach, there is a way to link the ID codes to provide an overall team score.
Your Leadership Training Action Plan
Through this leadership series, identify material that is appropriate for how you learn to develop your leadership skills. Identify a leader(s) that you can study his/her leadership style and consider developing an actionable plan. This personal plan can include books to read, blogs to follow, how to protect time for your training, and working with a mentor or coach to hold you accountable and provide feedback on your progress. In a future posting I will write more about creating a career development plan.
Below are links to previous leadership postings that you might find helpful.
Developing Your Leadership Potential
Leadership Books, Seminars, and Workshops
Books I Read: The CEO and the Monk
Books I Read: Gung Ho!
Developing Your Leadership Skills through a Journal Club