One of the best ways to improve your leadership skills is to get your hands on a really good book. After all, leaders are readers!
But how do you choose? Where do you start?
Lucky for you, our team spends a lot of time reading. Like, a lot. Here are our top three picks on the art of feedback: how to give it, receive it, and have the courage to start a conversation in the first place.
Thanks For The Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well
We swim in an ocean of feedback. Bosses, colleagues, customers—plus family, friends, and in-laws—they all have “suggestions” for our performance, parenting, or appearance.
We know feedback is essential for healthy relationships and professional development, but we dread it and often dismiss it.
Coauthors of the international bestseller Difficult Conversations, Stone and Heen spent ten years working with businesses, nonprofits, governments, and families to determine what helps us learn and what gets in our way.
With humour and clarity, they blend the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology with practical, hard-headed advice.
Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. But when you become a manager, it’s quite literally your job – and obligation – to say it.
Author Kim Scott was an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she worked with a team to develop a class on how to be a good boss. She has earned fame for her vital new approach to effective management, Radical Candor.
This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work and fulfill three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results that make everyone feel proud.
Radical Candor shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.
Leading With Emotional Courage
You have the opportunity to lead: to show up with confidence, connected to others and committed to a purpose in a way that inspires others to follow. Maybe it’s in your workplace, your relationships, or your own life.
But great leadership—the kind that aligns teams, inspires action, and achieves results—is hard. And what makes it hard isn’t theoretical, it’s practical. It’s not about knowing what to say or do. It’s about whether you’re willing to experience the discomfort, risk, and uncertainty of saying or doing it.
In other words, the most critical challenge of leadership is emotional courage. If you are willing to feel everything, you can do anything.
Leading with Emotional Courage coaches you to build your emotional courage, exercise it effectively, and create an environment in which people around you take accountability to get hard things done.
Taking time to read (or listen to) a book is a great first step. As with any advice, it only works if you use it! Developing your communication skills – including giving and receiving feedback – is worth every bit of the energy and work, and will lead to healthier relationships inside (and outside) the office.
Editor's note: This post has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Smart, Savvy + Associates are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent in the Pacific North West.