Three leadership books that are a quick read for great influence skills 

The best leaders are learners. There are two ways to learn: through direct experience, and through other people’s experience. Books are an amazingly efficient way to distil other people’s insights. A book that took the author many months to write, after many years of experience and processing, will take only a few hours to read. That’s an incredible return of wisdom for time invested. With that in mind, here are books for leadership influence that are worthy of your precious attention.


Leadership effectiveness starts from the inside before connecting with others

Leadership Book 1: The Loudest Guest – How to change and control your relationship with fear by Dr Amy Silver

Psychologist Dr Amy Silver unpacks all the juiciness of fear: why it dominates our thinking, sidelines our goals, and gets in our way, all to keep us safe. She offers a step by step approach to recognise and reframe our experience. The steps include: Recognition, Self Compassion, Separation, Evaluation, Decision, and Experimentation.

You might recognise fear running you in these kinds of ways:

Processing fear is crucial for a strong leadership mindset

Saying yes or taking too much on

Trying to please others

Habitual avoidance

And even FOMO – fear of missing out

Self Compassion is one of the nicest steps in the process. Much better than ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ or ‘smashing through fear’.

Amy’s book is a lovely, warm journey through fear, with stories from others about how they have met and spoken to their loudest fear voice, finding a gentle way through.

Telling stories is one of the critical leadership skills we must master for influence

Leadership Book 2: Magnetic Stories – Connect with customers and engage employees with brand storytelling by Gabrielle Dolan

This leadership book is easy and delightful; to read. Why? It’s mostly stories, of course! Ral makes her points come to life with great example stories for the five types of brand stories every business needs: creation stories, culture stories, customer stories, challenge stories, and community stories. 

Ral’s witty asides in footnotes and commentary just makes this book fun as well as useful. She includes practical questions and steps to get going with your own business stories.

Service is one of the leadership qualities you will never regret

Book 3: Service Habits – Small steps to strengthen the relationships with people you serve by Jaquie Scammel

As Jaquie reminds us, all business is about relationships. Customer service is the key ingredient for this. The book takes us through 27 keystone habits, all excellent for leadership empathy. Mindfulness is one of the first initial habits: it brings our full attention to others and helps us from being disconnected (and rude). Many of the habits are a deep dive into emotional intelligence. I felt like a better human for having read the book.

What books are you reading right now? How are you honing your leadership attributes and skills?


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  • Zoë Routh

    Australia's Leadership Expert, Author of Book of the Year "People Stuff" l Speaker l Mentor l Strategist

    Zoë Routh is one of Australia’s leading experts on people stuff - the stuff that gets in our way of producing results, and the stuff that lights us up. She works with the growers, makers, builders to make people stuff fun and practical.

    Zoë is the author of four books: Composure - How centered leaders make the biggest impact,  Moments - Leadership when it matters most, Loyalty - Stop unwanted staff turnover, boost engagement, and build lifelong advocates, and People Stuff - Beyond Personalities: An advanced handbook for leadership. People Stuff was awarded Book of the Year 2020 by the Smart WFM Australian Business Book Awards.

    Zoë is also the producer of The Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast.