Journey from Manager to Leader: 7 Books Every Manager Must Read to Propel Them towards Leadership Status

books for managers

You are the head of a department with a team of subordinates to manage. With so many different personalities in your team, each one having their own temperaments and dispositions, your job is not easy. Add to that the financial hassles, reporting to higher-ups and ensuring that your team is working towards a common goal; managers have their work cut out.

On the other end of the spectrum are leaders; people who do very little but leave a greater impact than managers. They have a vision. They inspire others in their team and guide and nurture people to achieve the unthinkable. If you want to take that leap from a manager to a leader and aspire to develop stellar leadership qualities, you are at the right place.

Here are seven books that every manager should read to become a better leader.

7 Books To Take You From Manager To Leader

1. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Efficacious managers are great at creating a culture that their subordinates can thrive in. On the other hand, best employees never shy away from sharing their creative ideas and speaking their hearts out. Adam Grant’s book covers both sides of the coin.


He nailed his point right on the head by quoting the example of Steve Jobs. The author talked about how Steve Jobs empowered employees and encouraged them to speak their minds. The author argues that truly original people are the ones who will succeed and shape the future.

2. How To Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie

No list of business books is complete without this one and for good reason. How to Win Friends and Influence People is a classic that you cannot afford to miss. Despite being more than 80 years old, making it the oldest book on this list, you will find many things that you can relate to in this book, even today.

win friends and influence people

It is one of the best books for both managers and leaders, as it helps them nurture durable, long-term relationship with their employees, instill trust, and encourage employees to speak up. Moreover, you can also know about tools that you can use to help others around you.

3. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, works for a whopping 85-100 hours every week. That comes up to twice as much as we all do. He sets a high standard not only for himself but also for his team. Elon Musk is one of the most demanding bosses you can expect to meet. The great thing about his biography is that it gives you a preview of what he thinks and how he leads.

Elon Musk

Despite failing to meet the deadline himself, his team achieves the highest level of productivity, creating products faster than possible. Although, you might not agree with all that is written in the book, but there is still a lot of things you can learn from successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk.

4. Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone around You by Betsy Myers

Betsy Myers raised the bar by signing to serve as the COO of grassroots for Chicago Senator, who went on to become the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Her book incorporates some insightful facts and inspirational nuggets of wisdom for managers looking to take it to the next level.

take the lead

The book focuses on taking control and helps you bring out the best in yourself and others around you. This is the trait of a good leader. Myers argues that you do not have to go in trenches or enter the boardroom, but rather that you should focus more on small things on a daily basis to inspire others.

5. The High-Potential Leader: How to Grow Fast, Take on New Responsibilities, and Make an Impact by Ram Charan and Geri Willigan

Do you have the potential to lead an organization to success? That is the first question you need to ask as a manager to become a great leader. This book will help you answer this question.

manager to leader

The High Potential Leader compares how leadership has evolved and what qualities you need to succeed as a leader in today’s cut-throat business environment. The ability to motivate and inspire others, your communication style, relationship building skills, and a knack to create engagement play a pivotal role in making you an impactful leader.

6. Extreme Ownership By Jocko Willink& Leif Babin

Capitalizing on their experience as a leader in the US Navy SEAL Team, Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, Jocko Willink and Leif Babinhaveput together this book. Extreme Ownership will help you keep all your team members on the same page and keep their motivation levels up.

extreme ownership

More importantly, you will be able to learn the important rules of leadership and execute them in a high impact, tight-knit team. There are many leadership lessons you can learn from US Navy SEAL, including leading through organizational change.

7. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

With so much stress and anxiety surrounding us at work, it is getting extremely difficult to stay happy. This is a key reason why happiness levels at work are hitting a rock bottom. Daniel Pink’s Drive tries to find what motivates us and makes us happy at work.


In addition to this, the book also shares what top companies do to create a positive office culture to retain their best talent. This book is a recommended read for all managers. It tells you what drives your employees and how you can make your employees feel more valued. Interlaced with brilliant examples of great companies, you can sow the seeds of a positive culture in your organization as well.


Learning the art of leadership can help you uplift yourself from a managerial role to leadership status. Reading some of these books will help you gain an in-depth perspective of organizational leadership. This will make things easier for you when you take the leap. Which leadership book is your favorite? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.