Recommended Books for Agile Leaders and Agile Managers

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Everyone wants to be acknowledged as a great leader, but what does a great leader mean? Here is a list of recommended books that would explain to you what great (agile) leaders do. Spoiler alert: it is a total mindset change, a great agile leader is the antithesis of the Pointy-haired Boss, the traditional leader from Dilbert comic strip. 🙂

  1. The Serving Leader by Kenneth R. Jennings and John Stahl-Wert. This is the most practical guide available to implementing Serving Leadership; on a deeper level, it is a book about the personal journey of growth that real leadership requires. Great organizations are great because they’re filled with people who freely choose to do their very best. It’s a maddeningly simple concept yet stunningly hard to execute. Jennings and Stahl-Wert show leaders how to earn that kind of commitment.
  2. Drive by Daniel H. Pink. Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink. In this provocative and persuasive book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. See also the summary youtube video.
  3. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, backstabing, office politics, protecting their mini kingdoms, silos, fragmentation and failure. Why? The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Too many organization are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best organization fosters trust and cooperation because their leaders build a “Circle of Safety” that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.
  4. Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders by Jurgen Appelo. Management 3.0 doesn’t offer mere checklists or prescriptions to follow slavishly; rather, it deepens your understanding of how organizations and Agile teams work and gives you tools to solve your own problems. Drawing on his extensive experience as an Agile manager, the author identifies the most important practices of Agile management and helps you improve each of them. Thoroughly pragmatic–and never trendy–Jurgen Appelo’s Management 3.0 helps you bring greater agility to any software organization, team, or project.


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