How Leaders Learn to Lead






A Game Plan for Life: The Power of MentoringA Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring

By John Wooden

Considered by many to be the greatest coach ever, John Wooden's UCLA Bruins won 10 NCAA backetball titles in a 12-year span, including seven in a row. Wooden saw his primary role as that of a teacher. He spent much of his energy helping others become the best they could be. The first half of A Game Plan for Life are about the seven most mentors Wooden had during his formative years. The other seven chapters were written by some of those who were mentored by Wooden, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. A truly inspiring book about the importance of mentoring. Read More...

A Legacy of 21st Century Leadership

By Les Wallace and James Trinka

This is a great book. A Legacy of 21st Century Leadership synthesizes some of the most compelling current research on how leaders learn to lead and provides many provocative insights about the importance of leaving a leadership legacy. Jim Trinka and Les Wallace argue that leaders need to make a conscious decision to lead, learn constantly, model effective leadership for the next generation, and focus on developing others. They also advocate developing leaders at all levels across the organization (rather than focusing on a “favored few”) and using varied and challenging assignments as a key leadership development tool.  This book provides a terrific roadmap for cultivating a climate of leadership in your agency or organization.  Trinka currently serves as Director of Technical Training and Development for the FAA.  Read More...

Developmental Assignments: Creating Learning Experiences without Changing Jobs

By Cynthia D. McCauley

This well-organized and useful guide is an update to the Center for Creative Leadership's classic book Eighty-Eight Assignments for Development in Place.  CCL's research shows that a significant percentage of leadership learning occurs through varied and challenging assignments.  This book provides a wealth of examples of how aspiring leaders can gain those opportunities for growth by reshaping their job, seeking temporary assignments and by taking on challenges outside of work.  Addresses a real need for government agencies, where it is often difficult to give employees long-term rotational assignments.  The author summarized some of her key points in an interview with Read More...

Building Character: Strengthening the Heart of Good Leadership

By Gene Klann

Drawing on decades of research by the Center for Creative Leadership, Gene Klann provides a clear framework for developing leaders or character that includes rich discussions of role models, the importance of challenging work experiences, leadership character training, and organizational culture. Klann also provides several useful tools, such as a personal values self-assessment, a checklist of good leader behaviors, and 17 scenarios of leadership character dilemmas that can be used for discussion purposes.  Highly recommended.  Read More...

Cover of The Lessons of Experience

The Lessons of Experience: How Successful Executives Develop on the Job

By Morgan W. McCall, Jr., Michael M. Lombardo, and Ann N. Morrison

This is one of the most useful books on executive development ever published.  It clearly outlines the various types of experiences that drive the vast majority of all leadership learning. Provides superb perspective on how to approach development most effectively.  (Hint: Classroom training is responsible for only a minor portion of leadership learning.)  Besides being full of wisdom, this book is a great read.  For a taste of the quality of the material in this book, check out the Center for Creative Leadership's report Twenty-Two Ways to Develop Leadership in Staff Managers, which was co-authored by Michael Lombardo.  Read More...

Cover of All Learning is Self-Directed

All Learning is Self-Directed: How Organizations Can Support and Encourage Independent Learning

By Daniel R. Tobin

This book is an absolute gold mine of information for managers who want to develop the skills and knowledge of their people. It describes all the different kinds of self-directed learning and provides a comprehensive strategy for implementing them.  One of the best sections includes a description of what managers can do to foster a positive learning environment for their employees.