A little professional development never hurt anyone, even the most senior of your staff! Sure, taking classes and studying for advanced degrees/certifications are great to build your skillset and resume. However, a little knowledge from the printed word can change your perspective on how you lead your team and advocate for your employees.
Here are 5 top books that CIO/CTOs should have on their bookshelves!
Work Rules by Laszlo Bock (Twelve)
Laszlo Bock is the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google Inc. You may wonder why such a fancy title for someone that’s essentially in Human Resources? After reading Work Rules, it makes sense, Laszlo gives insights into how Google views Human Resources and how their goal is to promote growth and strength at all levels from senior leadership to the individual contributor. While all employers want the best quality employees, Google wants to bring in good people who connect with their mission with transparency and lifelong learning. The lessons learned from the book follow the humanistic approach that people are generally good, who want to do good and be good employees. Leaders should look into how their role not only is to harness that goodness but also promote it in and out of the office.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek (Portfolio)
In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek introduces us the “Golden Circle” and how to connect people to our passions and our business. It’s about how to build trust and loyalty with your audience. In his latest book, Leaders Eat Last, he examines the team dynamic and the role of the leader in it. It discusses how trust and loyalty can grow internally within your organization. Leaders meant to set the tone, create the environment and provide guidance and motivation. In this digital age where works are both working in-house and remotely, this book explores how leaders can use their skills, drive and passion to create a positive work experience for all around them.
How to Look People in the Eye Digitally by Ted Rubin (Substantium)
If you’re not familiar with Ted Rubin (tedrubin.com), do a search on “Return on Relationship.” As leaders, we are all making investments in our company and our teams. To ensure the greatest return is communication. How to Look People in the Eye Digitally brings us back to basics in how we interact with each other offline as we should online. Successful leaders understand the art of conversation. It never hurts to brush up on style to better our interactions, whether one-to-one or one-to-many.
The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell (Center Street)
John Maxwell shares stories of how individuals can unlock their potential to be leaders. The 5 Levels of Leadership gives insights into what makes for a good leader, focusing on the community surrounding him/her. The explanation of the levels explore how and why people connect to effective and successful people, which are noted as: 

  1. Position – People follow because they have to.
    2. Permission – People follow because they want to.
    3. Production – People follow because of what you have done for the organization.
    4. People Development – People follow because of what you have done for them personally.
    5. Pinnacle – People follow because of who you are and what you representLeadership doesn’t mean you stop learning. The professional development continues after the promotion or placement. Maxwell provides to the tools for everyone to understand what makes a leader and what it takes to grow as a leader.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey (Simon & Schuster)
This book is essential for anyone in a leadership/managerial role. Originally released in 1990, The 7 Habits… require the individual to change their perspective on the world, making the paradigm shift. It requires looking your personal belief system and actions and how they relate to the world in which you want to live. It’s not just about being your best self; it’s more about how you connect with the world through focus, direction and organization. Covey presents basic concepts that can help us make changes in small and big ways for personal and community growth.
These titles are just a few to add your personal library. There are many more to be read and shared to enhance and promote our skills to grow and improve as leaders, regardless of level. Have any titles you like to share? Post them in the comments!
Additional Reading
4 Huge BI Challenges Facing CIOs and IT Leaders
How CIOs Can Remaster Their Leadership In the Digital Era