Power is a complicated subject. Fortunately, there are great books on leadership to help us get around the obstacles. Here are three contemporary authors who deliver.
Learning to exercise power is an early leadership skill that we must master
There’s no escaping how delicious power feels. It is incredibly energizing. It gives us a sense of strength and status. It allows us privileges and advantages. It’s no wonder we see so many leaders fall under its spell. From Julius Caesar to Genghis Khan, from despotic politician to narcissistic business leader, power is a galvanizing force. With it we can conquer lands and compete in squash.
The power that is exercised like a sword generates human guarantees. Eventually dictators fall, some more quickly than others. Although our civilizations have drifted further away from oppressive power-hungry regimes, some remain.
In our workplaces, we still see the burgeoning beast of power. As thoughtful and thoughtful leaders, it is our moral imperative to know power and handle it wisely.
Power wielded like a torch lights the path of humanity. We are going to do that.
As I investigate more about power in leadership, I see its use and abuse everywhere. The following books share different perspectives on power, from easy read to more complex nuanced points of view. Choose your option.
Understanding power is essential to a healthy leadership mindset
Recommendation 1. Easy Reading / Listening: John Birmingham’s End of Days Series
I’ve been listening to some amazing original series from Audible. These three audiobooks: Zero day code, Failure status, and American kill switch Give us a fascinating look at human societies if we lose our internet capabilities. Birmingham writes a dystopian near future where a cyber attack destroys all communication and food distribution networks. Chaos and survival ensue. A fascinating look at how we join, or not, when the crisis hits, who emerges as leaders and how they wield power. A brilliant tale from Rupert Degas. The characterization and dialogue is top-notch. #authorcrush
Recommendation 2. Average hardness reading: The Four Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation by Timothy Clark
A fabulous short manual on how to increase and extend psychological safety in the workplace and work to share power and collaboration. The four stages include: Inclusion Safety, Student Safety, Contributor Safety, and Challenge Safety. Complete with excellent reflection questions and key points from the chapter, this is a practical manual for leaders who want a tiered approach to learning how to help others share power and grow under their leadership banner.
Recommendation 3: Difficult reading: Nordic Ideology: A Metamodern Guide to Politics – Book Two by Hanzi Freinacht
It is long, difficult, complex. And very rewarding. Hanzi describes the path of development for us as a civilization without hitting. There is no utopia waiting for us, only what he calls ‘relative utopia’. It suggests that our current civilizations are relatively better than the ones we’ve had before (world wars, slavery), but they still have a new set of problems that we must lean on and address (faulty ecosystems, increased inequality, and alienation and stress). .) If you are interested in the broader patterns at play in human societies, this book is for you. It also comes with a kind of playbook of how to foster self-development and nurture the development of others, essential for a successful metamodern society that is equipped to handle the challenges that a modern and postmodern society has created.
Essential leadership skills include advanced emotional intelligence, perspective taking, and complexity mapping. Phew. We are on the right track.