Leaders are often at the forefront, making decisions that impact not only their teams but the entire organisation. This puts corporate leaders at risk of burnout or diminishing their wellbeing – critical parts of ourselves that must be nurtured to lead others to the best of our potential. Part of nurturing our emotional and mental well-being includes continuing to grow our capacity to evolve and learn, an example being taking time to read. The team Executive Central Group have collated a list of essential reads for leaders to nurture their minds and upskill in their own leading approaches.

Emotional Agility by Susan David, PhD.

At its core, Emotional Agility addresses difficult emotions, thoughts, and feelings – and encourages its readers to do the same to cultivate healthier relationships and communities. Replacing ‘focus on the positive’ with ‘face the difficult emotions’, Dr. Susan David emphasises the importance of facing our emotions with curiosity in order to navigate difficult situations and process our thoughts.

“The way we engage with our emotions shapes everything.”

A Harvard Medical School psychologist, Dr. Susan David explores her emotional agility framework, outlining microskills for leaders to implement within their approaches for healthier relationships within their teams and their own emotions.

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Studying courage, shame, empathy and vulnerability, research professor Brené Brown wrote Dare to Lead as a playbook for building courage and bravery as a leader. Brown plays with notions of power and vulnerability – daring ourselves not to pretend to have all the answers and, instead, lean into uncertainty. 

“I believe that you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore…embrace the suck.”

Dare to Lead brings humanness back into the limelight of leadership, and we encourage all leaders to add this book to their bookshelf and challenge themselves to be more vulnerable.

Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta

In Sand Talk, Tyson Yunkaporta examines global systems through the eyes of an Indigenous perspective, challenging organisations and leaders to think differently and embrace Indigenous thought and ways of being as a template for living. Using Sand Talk, an Aboriginal custom of drawing images into the ground to convey knowledge, Yunkaporta explains how lines and symbols make sense of the world, helping us remember and learn. 

“Somewhere between action and reaction there is an interaction, and that’s where all the magic and fun lies”

Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking can Save the World answers the questions How does this affect us? How can we do things differently? with  crucial Indigenous perspective to historical and philosophical thinking. Consider how contemporary lifestyles have diverged from the pattern of creation, and challenge your thinking with this paradigm-shifting book.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

James Clear’s breakthrough book Atomic Habits acts as a practical guide for making small changes within our lifestyle as a simple approach to self-improvement. Clear emphasis that  small habitual changes can lead to significant personal and professional growth – healthy financial habits, health habits, learning habits and the likes.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

Atomic Habits is an enlightening read filled with anecdotal stories from a variety of industry leaders. Add this to your shelf if you’d like to challenge your own systems and approaches, or if you’re seeking the path of self-improvement.

Quantum Leadership by Rob Balmer

Written by our very own Executive Chariman, Rob Balmer, Quantum Leadership explores the leap in performance for leaders confronting their organisations during disruptive times. Rob draws on his seventeen years of coaching experience as a corporate leader in highly disruptive environments to offer a simple. pragmatic ‘Quantum Equation’ to increase capability, built trust and excite energy for dramatic improvements in performance and change-ready cultures.

“Every organisation has, within its own people, the potential to achieve almost anything it aspires to. The key is unlocking that potential…”

Every organisation experiences rapid change and disruption, especially in the face of the recent pandemic and current economic downturns. We believe that every team can benefit from quantum leadership skills.

Love and Work by Marcus Buckingham

World-renowned researcher and co-creator of the Strengthsfinder system, Marcus Buckingham delves into the concept of passion at work. Love and Work acknowledges that many of us don’t know the real truth of what we love – what engages us, what makes us stand out, what our unique gifts are – and that no system is genuinely dedicated to helping you discover the intersection that is what you love and how to contribute this to others.

“Don’t hold out for that perfect job, that perfect life. Instead, learn the skill of pinpointing precisely what you love and weaving it into what you do, everyday.”

Executive Central champions leading with strengths, and encourages readers to dive into the source of their excellence and creativity to break from conformity and truly excel.

Generation Panic by Agi Heale

Another book written by our own Agi Heale, Generation Panic acts as a guide to help busy professionals feeling out of control and struggling to manage their anxiety. Offering over 100  simple and bite-sized techniques to help manage stress and anxiety, Generation Panic can help leaders who aren’t feeling themselves to start living a fulfilled and panic-free life once more.

“Everyone deals with anxiety in some form, it’s just about how well they handle it”

This book is a treasure trove for leaders seeking balance in their hectic lives, offering tools to navigate challenges with calmness and clarity. With something to serve for everyone, we encourage readers to take a step back to breathe and consider their own wellbeing and stress-levels with Generation Panic.

Leadership is a journey of continuous growth and learning. These essential reads for leaders recommended by Executive Central offer insights, tools, and perspectives that can enrich any leader’s repertoire. By investing time in reading, leaders can not only enhance their skills but also nurture their emotional and mental well-being to make them the best they can be.

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