8 leadership inspired books to read in 2018

To inspire or add to your own reading list for this year, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite books which have shaped our own leadership practice.

What would you add to this list? Let us know @teamSCEL

  1. Good to Great, by Jim Collins
    This is not a traditional educational leadership text – it is a book with a clear business approach. It challenges business leaders to consider how good or mediocre companies achieve lasting greatness. Good to Great is based on research conducted with 28 companies over a period of five years and focuses on the type of leadership required to achieve success. This is described as Level Five Leadership. I was given a signed copy of the book by the Depute CEO of a hugely successful company I did my SQH placement with. As a new head teacher, I was heavily influenced by this book and it challenged me to reflect on the ways in which I could apply Collins’ findings to a school leadership context. How I could move the school from good to great by focusing on a set of core values that would guide and inspire people throughout our school community; ensuring that we had great teachers who shared an unwavering belief that we could become a great school by putting our young people at the heart of everything we do. If you haven’t come across this book yet, I would urge you to read it and I hope that you too can be inspired by it.

    Anne Munro, Lead Specialist
  2. Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatly
    This book and author both opened my mind to other ways of working, thinking and doing. The way she writes shows her passion for people, and seeing people and relationships as what really matter. It also helped me to understand change and to see it as a natural process and something to be embraced.

    Lesley Whelan,
    Depute CEO/Director of Programmes
  3. Teacher Learning and Leadership: Of, By, and for Teachers, by Ann Lieberman, Carol Campbell, Anna Yashkina
    This book puts forward the idea that teachers should be put at the centre of creating, developing, organising, implementing, and sharing their own ideas for school change rather than being passive recipients of knowledge from the outside – there is tremendous potential for the good of young people and the teaching profession when teachers work together collaboratively to develop their own professional knowledge and practices.

    Fearghal Kelly, Lead Specialist
  4. Leading in a Culture of Change, by Michael Fullan
    My favourite leadership book is an oldie but goodie. Published in 2001, I didn’t get the opportunity to read it until at least a decade later! I found it very accessible and the chapters about moral purpose resonated strongly with my own beliefs, so it was sort of a ‘eureka’ experience! In my view, the principles that Fullan espouses are now reflected in the GTCS Standards for Leadership and Management which were written in 2012.

    Kathleen Kerrigan, Development Officer
  5. Uplifting Leadership, by Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle, Alma Harris
    I read this book just as I took up post at SCEL – we brought Andy and Alma to Scotland for a Leadership conference in partnership with ADES, and the book stretched my thinking about establishing and growing a new organisation. One of the authors, Alan Boyle wrote on my copy ‘I hope this provides some encouragement as you lift yourself once again in your quest for new horizons’.

    Gillian Hamilton, Chief Executive
  6. What’s Worth Fighting For in Headship? by Michael Fullan
    I read this book as a head teacher – it has a great focus on what is important as a head teacher, and what’s not!

    Gillian Hamilton, Chief Executive
  7. The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff
    This one is a bit different – leadership and life advice through the eyes of Winnie the Pooh. The author cleverly introduces Winnie the Pooh a “Western Taoist” and uses the bear to introduce the Eastern philosophical principles of Taoism!

    Gillian Hamilton, Chief Executive
  8. The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Set in a dystopian future, The Hunger Games trilogy follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a young girl who is forced to compete in a nationally televised event where youths fight to the death in an area until only one remains. Katniss competes in The Hunger Games and goes on to become the face of a revolutionary uprising against a tyrannical government. Katniss does not want to lead. The last thing she wants is to be the centre of attention, but she has a deep empathy for those that she loves and she refuses to let injustice harm them. She is selfless, focused and good at making decisions under pressure. I was gifted these books on the last day of my previous job, and I had no idea that I would soon be taking leadership inspiration from the unlikely hero!

    Louise Henderson, Digital Manager

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