Leadership Must Read Books for CEOs










I just finished reading and highly recommend that all CEOs read the book, Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change, by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs. 

The book is a result of an extensive multi-decade study of 600 leaders. The authors found that just as humans develop so do leaders. They distinguish 5 levels of leaders with each level being more effective than the previous. This is consistent with several theories of development: Ken Wilber, author of dozens of books including, A Theory of Everything, Harvard professor, Robert Kegan, author of In Over Our Heads,  William Torbet, author of Action Inquiry, Don Beck & Chris Cowan, authors of Spiral Dynamics, and Dave Logan and John King, authors of Tribal Leadership.

“Leadership Agility is based on an integral perspective that approaches leadership development from the outside in and from the inside out. From an outside-in perspective it highlights the skills needed for agile leadership in complex, rapidly changing environments. More specifically, it identifies agile leadership competencies in three distinct action arenas:

  • Pivotal conversations: Direct person-to-person discussions where important outcomes are at stake.
  • Team initiatives: Initiatives intended to improve a team and/or its relationship with its larger environment.
  • Organizational initiatives: Initiatives designed to change an organization and /or its relationship with its larger environment.” (p vi) 

For the past 6 months, I have had the opportunity to intensely study with John King, co-author of Tribal Leadership. Both books are based on research on leadership and found different stages of development. I speculate that the levels compare as follows:

Tribal Leadership                                                          Leadership Agility

 Stage 3                                                                         Expert Level

Mature Stage 3                                                             Achiever Level

Stage 4                                                                         Catalyst Level

Mature Stage 4                                                            Co-Creator Level

Stage 5                                                                        Synergist Level 

Fans of Tribal Leadership and all people that are interested in further developing their capacity as a leader will find these two books valuable. The authors clearly articulate the knowledge, skills, and abilities leaders need to develop and move to higher levels of effectiveness. 

“Through our work with leaders, we’ve become convinced that agile leadership and personal development go hand in hand. Most of us spend about half our waking hours on the job. Depending on how you approach it, work can grind you down or polish you like a jewel. By approaching your leadership challenges with greater mindfulness, you can develop your agility, make a difference in the world, and enjoy the person you become in the process.” (p 226)