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Top Leadership Books To Gift To Your Colleagues This Holiday Season

Baili Bigham
Baili Bigham

As we all expected, bringing in the new year will feel different this time around. Although we may not get to experience all the fun elements of normal holiday seasons, like getting together with your friends, family, and colleagues, a fun and safe way to show your appreciation in a meaningful way is through gifts. This is often easier said than done.

The leaders at 15Five came together to help make your gift-shopping experience a little easier this year. Below, each member of our leadership team hand-picked their top leadership book and wrote a review to share some of their biggest takeaways. Check out their recommendations below and find the perfect one for the leader in your life.

Unique Ability 2.0 Discovery – Define Your Best Self by Catherine Nomura

“This original version of the Unique Ability helped me kickstart my journey of self discovery back in 2004. Through this book, I learned that each of us has a unique intersection of the things that we’re passionate about and naturally talented at. When we discover and invest in that intersection, we not only create the best results, but we also experience the highest levels of fulfillment. This is empowering for both ourselves and those around us.”
– David Hassell, Co-founder and CEO 

Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork by Dan Sullivan

“Rather than asking yourself, ‘How can I accomplish my plans?’ I invite you to shift your mindset, and instead, start asking yourself ‘Who can accomplish my plans?’ Once you do, your life will change and potential will be unlocked. I’ve recommended Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork to all the CEOs I’ve coached to enable them to maximize their own genius and accomplish more by leveraging their peoples’ genius too.” – Shane Metcalf, Co-founder and Chief Culture Officer 

What You Do is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz

Shane also recommends What You Do is Who You Are, a book aimed at helping executives understand the art and science of building resilient cultures. “Legendary venture capitalist, Ben Horowitz, explores the truth about company cultures and how to craft them so that they produce results,” says Shane.

The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp

Our VP of People Operations, Heidi Collins, recommends these 15 commitments for those who are looking to become a more purposeful, trust-based leader. This book shares how having a conscious leadership style can help create better energy, clarity, focus, and overall healthier relationships in an organization. “If there was one book that I would require individuals to read before stepping into a manager or leadership role, it’s this one,” says Heidi.

Lead Like You Were Meant To by Rob McKinnon

“For leaders who want to grow, leave a legacy, or have recently faced a setback, Lead Like You Were Meant To helps you make the shift from autopilot to intentional and connect the dots between your greatest strengths and weaknesses. This book transformed how I lead during a critical juncture in my career and growth.” – Brad McGinity, Chief Revenue Officer 

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo

15Five’s VP of Design, Holly Kennedy shares her go-to management guide, The Making of a Manager, which offers effective practices and advice on the most important elements of leading, such as hiring and organizing teams. “This book encouraged an exercise I do every January, which is mapping out where I hope my team will be by the end of the year. I create a future org chart, analyze gaps in skills, strengths, or experiences, and make a list of open roles to hire for,” says Holly.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

“I love the marriage of psychology, anthropology, and biochemistry in Leaders Eat Last. Understanding the physical impacts of stress and, as a leader, learning how to be more cognizant of these impacts is extremely useful. I also love Simon’s use of history to help us understand how some current leadership norms have evolved. The concept of abstraction is powerful and reminds us to dig deeper to understand people on a human level. This translates into better leadership.” – Dianne Frommelt, VP of Product Management

Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg & Mark Waldman

Words Can Change Your Brain is one of the best personal-development books I’ve read. It takes a deep dive into the neuroscience behind our words, and how language influences our brain structure and ways of thinking. It provides 12 useful conversation strategies on how to build trust, resolve conflict, and increase intimacy with others.” – Jon Greenawalt, Chief Performance Officer

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change by Camille Fournier

As the tech lead at 15Five, CTO Nazar Ivaniv recommends all managers within the tech industry check out The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change. This book explores and breaks down each stage of the journey from an engineer to a technical manager, and offers tactical advice for unifying teams while avoiding common obstacles. 

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Our Chief of Staff, Stacey Hurst, is no stranger to keeping multiple boats afloat at the same time. Ensuring that every moment of the workday is used as effectively and strategically as possible is the name of the game. If this sounds like another leader you know, be sure to share with them Stacey’s highly-recommended book, Essentialism. In it, readers will learn systematic discipline and productivity techniques for eliminating distractions and focusing on the things that truly matter. 

Baili Bigham is the Content Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, OKR tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews. When Baili isn’t writing, you can find her binge-reading a new book or strategizing ways to pet every dog in San Francisco. 

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