ATD Blog

Best Books for Developing Your Leaders

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

During ATD’s Creating Leadership Development Programs Certificate program, talent development professionals often ask me to recommend the best books for developing leaders in this VUCA age. There are many excellent books available. If you have been asked to design a leadership development program for your organization, you probably need practical ideas and the books in the first list will help you. The second list focuses on competencies your leaders will need in this VUCA world. Both lists of books should meet your needs. 

Designing Your Leadership Program 

Biech, Elaine. Developing Talent for Organizational Results. San Francisco: Pfeiffer Publishing, 2012. 

Biech, Elaine. The ASTD Leadership Handbook. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press, 2010. 

Bruce, Anne. Leaders: Start to Finish, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASTD, 2012. 

Lombardo, Michael M., and Robert W. Eichinger. The Leadership Machine: Architecture to Develop Leaders for Any Future. Minneapolis, MN: Lominger International, 2011. 

McCauley, Cynthia, D. DeRue, P. Yost, and S. Taylor. Experience-Driven Leaders Development. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2014. 

McCauley, Cynthia D. and Ellen Van Velsor. Handbook of Leadership Development, Third Edition. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2014. 

McCauley, Cynthia D. and M. McCall, Jr, eds. Using Experience to Develop Leadership Talent. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2014. 

Tobin, Daniel. Feeding Your Leadership Pipeline. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press, 2010. 


Developing Leadership Competencies 

Bradberry, Travis and J. Greaves. Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego, CA: Talent Smart, 2009. 

Brown, Brene. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. New York: Avery Books, 2015. 

Clark, Dorie. Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea. New York: Penguin, 2015. 

Gentry, William. Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2016. 

Hallenbeck, George. Learning Agility. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2016. 

Holiday, Ryan. The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. New York: Penguin Random House, 2014. 


Hughes, Richard, K. Beatty, and D. Dinwoodie. Becoming a Strategic Leader, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014. 

Johansen, Bob. Leaders Make the Future, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2012. 

Kouzes, James and Barry Posner. Learning Leadership. San Francisco: The Leadership Challenge, a Wiley Brand, 2016. 

Pasmore, William. Leading Continuous Change: Navigating Churn in the Real World. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2015. 

Sinek, Simon. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. New York: Penguin, 2014.  

Thacker, Karissa. The Art of Authenticity: Tools to Become an Authentic Leader and Your Best Self. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2016. 

Thaler, Linda and Robin Koval. Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary. New York: Crown Business, 2015. 

Zenger, John H. and Joseph Folkman. The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders, 2nd Edition. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2009.

About the Author

Elaine Biech, president of ebb associates inc, a strategic implementation, leadership development, and experiential learning consulting firm, has been in the field for 30 years helping organizations work through large-scale change. She has presented at dozens of national and international conferences and has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Management Update, Investors Business Daily, and Fortune Magazine. She is the author and editor of over 50 books, including the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals, ASTD Leadership Handbook, 10 Steps to Successful Training, The Ultimate Trainer, Thriving Through Change, The Business of Consulting, 2nd ed., and Training for Dummies. A long time volunteer for ASTD, she has served on ASTD's National Board of Directors, was the recipient of the 1992 ASTD Torch Award, the 2004 ASTD Volunteer Staff Partnership Award, and the 2006 Gordon Bliss Memorial Award. Elaine was instrumental in compiling the CPLP study guides and has designed five ASTD Certificate Programs. In addition to her work with ATD, she has served on the Independent Consultants Association's (ICA) Advisory Committee and on the Instructional Systems Association (ISA) board of directors.

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