Dietitian Connection’s suggestions for top five books on leadership, management and tips on how to succeed in the workplace and life.

1. The success principles – Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer

I heard Jack Canfield, also author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, speak at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (USA) meeting a few years ago now as closing keynote speaker.  His speech covering the key principles for success really made me think and led me to take the leap and launch Dietitian Connection.  Some topics covered include: decide what you want, believe it’s possible, believe in yourself, feel the fear and do it anyway, surround yourself with successful people, transform your inner critic to an inner coach and hire a personal coach.  One of the few books that has truly changed my life.

2.  The hard truth about soft skills  – Peggy Klaus

I really enjoyed this book.  This book discusses the importance of soft skills (ie communication, conflict resolution, self-awareness and promotion) in being successful in the workplace.  If you aren’t getting where you want to go at work, this book is a must read.  Some key lessons from Klaus include: knowing yourself is as important as knowing how to do the job, don’t take it personally, you have to be good to be lucky, get out of your own way, there’s no such thing as work-life balance only tradeoffs, your boss wants you to figure it out, when you can’t deliver don’t say yes but be careful how you say no, whining is for kids and even then nobody wants to hear it, and find the silver lining.

3.  The five dysfunctions of a team – Patrick Lencioni

Love, love, love this book.  I have read it multiple times. A must read for anyone working in a team.  Successful teams need to work through five levels: developing trust, engaging in conflict, commitment, accountability and attention to results.  The book is an easy read using a story of a dysfunctional executive team to describe the five dysfunctions and then provides activities that teams can work through to become a functional team.

4.  The first 90 days: critical success strategies for new leaders at all levels – Michael Watkins

An important resource for any new manager or leader stepping into a new position.  The book discusses topics such as promote yourself (ie take a mental break from your old job and start to think differently about leading in your new one), accelerate your learning (there’s often so much to learn, focus on the most important aspects to accelerate the learning curve), secure early wins, negotiate success, build your team, and create coalitions.

5.  Encouraging the heart: a leader’s guide to rewarding and recognizing others – James Kouzes and Barry Posner

This book discusses how to lead through encouragement and provides many examples on the seven essential steps including: set clear standards, pay attention, personalise recognition, tell the story, celebrate together and set the example.

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