People & Culture

What three books would you recommend to the leaders read and why?

After so many months without writing, it’s time to start again and, more importantly, to start in English. Some of you might know that I moved to Berlin 6 months ago. I decided to move here because there are many job opportunities for non-natives. The ability to speak German is useful but not a requirement as there are many international companies using English as the main language. Having said this, German can be extremely useful in some situations like for administration. Apart from that, it is a respectful gesture to learn the language of your new country. Therefore, I have just started studying! “Hallo, Mein Name ist Irene” 🙂 Hopefully someday, I will be able to write a post in German!

I want to share with you one of the typical questions that you might find when you apply for a new job. “What 3 books would you recommend to the leaders read and why?” Usually, they ask this question to check your ability to communicate. 

I used to struggle with this question because I am not in the habit of reading HR books, I would rather read articles. I always first think about HR related books but when I was deciding which books to choose, I kept in mind the objectives: check my communication skills and make a relevant recommendation for the leaders. I realised that there are so many books that can full-fill with these two objectives.

Let me show you which three books I would choose and why I would recommended them.


THE FOUR AGREEMENTS.

At InfoJobs we gave this book as a gift to all our employees. The author, Don Miguel Ruiz, outlines four philosophies for life in the novel, to not only be happier, but to destroy needless suffering, and learn how to deal with the feelings related to our interaction with other people. It is based on wisdom from an ancient Toltec tribe.

  1. Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t take anything personally. The things other people do are not because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Why is it a good recommendation for leadership?

– It helps to improve the way we communicate and relates to others.
– It helps to improve the way of giving and receiving feedback.
– It inspires one to be more conscious of our feelings, and how we react to others.
– One learns, for example, that if we have any problem in a meeting with a colleague, we speak with this person directly, erasing any subsequent negative feeling. ‘Go always to the source’.
– And lastly, because it reminds us to ask ourselves, ‘Can I do more?’ If the answer is yes, try, try, and try again.

After the company gifted this book to InfoJobs employees, gossip and negative talk subsided, due to the discussion of the book and the rule ‘Go always to the source’ as well as ‘Speak for yourself, not for others’.

ENDER’S GAME.

Orson Scott wrote a military science fiction book about the “insectoid” alien species invasion of the human world. In preparation for this invasion, children were trained to survive and destroy the enemy.

Why is it a good recommendation for leadership?

– One realizes how important is for a group of people to have trust amongst themselves, to work together as a team and reach the same goal.
– It demonstrated the importance of having a good leader, a natural one, who leads by example and can amplify the best attributes of each team member.
– It will show one how relevant this saying is “You can’t judge a book by looking at it’s cover.” In one’s daily work, they usually have issues or discussions with colleagues. Understanding that there is a different part/person involved that you should listen to first, will always help you to find an alternative way to solve the problem instead of starting a “war.”

TOUCHING THE VOID.

A book by Joe Simpson, recounting his and Simon Yates’ successful but disastrous and nearly fatal climb of the 6,344-metre Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

Why is it a good recommendation for leadership?

– Follow your dreams, be ambitious, and do everything you can to reach the top of the mountain.
– If something goes awry, be strong, look for alternate solutions, and don’t give up.
– If you’ve tried everything, and you still don’t reach the goal, maybe you should “cut the rope” and attempt a different course.
– From every mistake, you would learn an important lesson from its consequences.

What do you think? Which three books would you recommend to a leaders of a company?

 

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