The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace

By Beatrice Chestnut

Post Hill Press, 280 pp., $27

In the past few years, mindfulness and other approaches to self-awareness have made their way into workplace vernacular. Chestnut, a psychotherapist, uses her new book to explain how to apply a personality framework to solve people problems on the job quickly and efficiently.

According to Chestnut, "This book is written for people who are open to the idea that the first and main challenge involved in being a good or great leader is waking up to what's happening in the present moment and coming to know yourself in a deeper and more meaningful way."

The personality framework used in The 9 Types of Leadership—The Enneagram Model of Personality—is a business tool that can help make sense of differences among people, providing information on the varied ways that humans operate in the world. Each of the book's chapters details one of the nine personality types—the reformer, the helper, the achiever, the individualist, the investigator, the loyalist, the enthusiast, the challenger, and the peacemaker—to help readers understand why people do what they do, why we have conflicts with some people, and how we become aware of our blind spots. Most importantly, it can help leaders understand themselves in a deeper way so they can more effectively lead others.

Chapter 13 will help you put the Enneagram tool to work in your organization. This chapter answers the questions: "If I decide to use the Enneagram, what do I do? How do I proceed? How do I use it to ensure the best return on my investment?" Chestnut outlines how to use the framework in leadership and professional development by talking with chief learning officers, HR executives, CEOs, chief information officers, and others. Their stories describe their professional growth after using the model.

Along with how to use the Enneagram framework for learning and development, Chestnut highlights how to use it to develop better working relationships, understand team dynamics, and create a culture of conscious professionalism.

The term "mindfulness" can cause some skepticism among leaders. It is a soft skill that is hard to quantify and brings questions as to how leaders can be successful when using different self-awareness approaches. Chestnut sees it a different way: "I believe the Enneagram can support you on your adventure of accessing a deeper level of personal awareness so you can liberate yourself from the limiting constraints of your habitual patterns and work to manifest to your highest potential."


Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Kim Scott

St. Martin's Press, 272 pp., $26.99

Years ago, Scott—currently a Silicon Valley CEO coach and former executive at Google and Apple—learned the hard way that a boss isn't doing her job unless she offers guidance to her direct reports and, more importantly, solicits it in return. These lessons became Radical Candor, which teaches managers to create feedback-rich environments by building relationships with their direct reports, and then using those relationships to challenge them directly. A two-part guidebook with sections on theory and practice, its engaging stories and actionable advice will teach you to become a better boss by bringing your whole self to work.


The Vitality Imperative: How Connected Leaders and Their Teams Achieve More With Less Time, Money, and Stress

Mickey Connolly, Jim Motroni, and Richard McDonald

Catalyst Publishing, 192 pp., $26.95

In The Vitality Imperative, Connolly, Motroni, and McDonald support the idea that the best organizations "put the most connected people in charge and count on them to understand challenges, inspire commitment, and coordinate contribution." They call this the connected leader model, which anyone can learn by fulfilling seven promises: presence, empathy, purpose, authenticity, wonder, timing, and surprising results. Colored with anecdotes and examples from a broad range of companies and industries, made accessible by actionable questions and advice, and accompanied by a suite of free online tools, this book makes it easy to learn a compassionate, sustainable, and results-driven leadership style.


Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team's Productive Power

Michael Mankins and Eric Garton

Harvard Business Review Press, 256 pp., $32

With corporate bureaucracy costing the U.S. economy more than $3 trillion each year, Mankins and Garton assault the productivity crisis with Time, Talent, Energy. The center of the issue, they argue, is that although human capital has become an organization's most valuable resource—even more important than financial capital—organizations still fail to effectively manage it. The authors use research and case studies to show how companies bog themselves down with superfluous collaboration and complex operating models, struggle to develop and deploy their best talent, and fail to inspire their employees with winning cultures. Then they explain how to solve these problems.


What's on Sanjay Sarma's Bookshelf?

Stop Guessing: The 9 Behaviors of Great Problem Solvers by Nat Greene. This is a charming book that crisply captures the discipline necessary for efficient problem solving. Reading it reminded me of bad habits I had developed myself. I recommend it to every engineer (and married person or parent). In his book, set to be released in paperback this month, Greene shares advice about finding solutions for wicked problems we're facing in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world. All too often, we're not solving problems, but guessing. Greene shows a better way.

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel. As the authors write in the preface, "This is a book about what people can do for themselves right now in order to learn better and remember longer. The responsibility for learning rests with every individual." The authors tap into new discoveries about the mind and how it works to provide solid techniques for becoming constructive learners. While learning may rest with the individual, this is still a great read for teachers, facilitators, and talent developers.