Selected books, research articles, and popular literature for those seeking deeper knowledge from a range of disciplines and perspectives.
Articles: Food for Thought and for Growth
These are a few articles relevant to academic leaders.
Badaracco, J. L. (1998). The discipline of building character. Harvard Business Review, 76, 114-124.
Badaracco suggests that character is formed when we must navigate conflicts between our personal and professional values. They key to navigating these moments successfully is a solid understanding of “who am I” and “who are we?” Practical advice, such as realizing that all members of your unit do not necessarily hold the same values as you abounds in this article.
Cross, R., Baker, W., & Parker, A. (2003, July). What creates energy in organizations? MIT Sloan Management Review.
Energy at work captures the attention of many organizational researchers. Some call it vigor, calling, engagement or other terms. However you terms it, knowing about energizers and deenergizers and how they affect those with whom they interact is a key idea to understand and internalize for long-term success in working with other people.
Drucker, P. F. (1999). Managing oneself. Harvard Business Review, 77(2), 64-75
Ancient advice suggested that to take charge of your future, the first step was “know thyself.” What are your strengths, weaknesses, values? How do you learn and work best? What is your ideal working situation? Growing in self-knowledge will make you a more effective leader, and this book by renowned business expert Peter Drucker helps you ask these critical self-reflective questions. Now one of HBR’s “classics” series.
Dweck, C. S. (1999). Caution—Praise can be dangerous. American Educator, Spring.
Praise can take many forms. How you praise people affects their motivation. Read and consider.
Oncken W., & Wass, D. (1999). Management time: Who’s got the monkey? Harvard Business Review, 77(6), 178-186.
This classic article introduces the concept of different kinds of demands on your time and ways to think about managing them— and yourself. It focuses you on responsibilities and where they rightly belong.
Trevino, L. K., Hartman, L. P., & Brown, M. (2000). Moral person and moral manager: How executives develop a reputation for ethical leadership. California Management Review, 42, 128- 142.
Reputation is important for success as a leader. Respected ethical leadership scholars describe the two pillar approach to being an ethical leader: the moral person and moral manager. The moral person is one who exhibits ethical traits, behaviors, and decision making abilities. The moral manager goes beyond these to communicate and role model ethical behaviors as well as reward their presence and disciple their absence in their unit members. The authors describe some archetypes of moral and immoral mangers, and make a case for the importance of being and being seen as ethical.
Groysberg, B., & Slind, M. (2013). Leadership is a conversation: How to improve employee engagement and alignment in today’s flatter more networked organizations. Harvard Business Review, 91(6), 76-84.
Researchers have found that engaging with employees in a way that resembles an ordinary person-to-person conversation is far more beneficial than an authoritative tone. This style is important for academic leaders because they often lack the formal position power of other types of leaders and must employ other avenues of influence. The authors discuss four essential attributes of organizational conversation: intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality. Leaders can employ these to improve relationships within their unit.
Isaacson, W. (2012). The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs. Harvard Business Review, 90(4), 92-102.
Steve Jobs’ biographer discusses 14 key leadership lessons drawn from Jobs’ style.
Bess, J. L., & Goldman, P. (2001). Leadership ambiguity in universities and K-12 schools and the limits of contemporary leadership theory. Leadership Quarterly, 12, 419-450.
These authors review the applicability of 5 mainstream leadership theories (situational, charismatic, transformational, path-goal, and leader-member exchange [LMX]), concluding that none of them are adequate for describing the unique situation encountered by academic leaders. They propose a systematic framework for leadership in academia. One of their most important takeaways: successful academic leaders should be socially, politically, and morally aware and able to clarify the often-ambiguous situations in which academics find themselves.
Harvard Business Review
This book series draws from the Harvard Business Review’s extensive collection of “most read” articles. We have selected a few especially relevant to academic leaders.
Drucker, P. F., Goleman, D., & George, W. W. (2011). On Leadership. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Leadership is a very broad concept. These articles address leadership in general, providing insights into the role of “leader.” This collection includes: ”What Makes an Effective Executive”, “What Makes a Leader?” “What Leaders Really Do,” “The Work of Leadership,” “Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?” “Crucibles of Leadership,” “Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve,” “Seven Transformations of Leadership,” “Discovering Your Authentic Leadership,” and “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader.”
Hill, L. A., Ibarra, H., & Cialdini, R. B. (2017). For New Managers. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Many new academic leaders are, for the first time, managing employees and support staff. This text targets some key skills to help your effectiveness in this area (and some of the advice is also applicable to academic colleagues as well.) Specific topics include emotional intelligence, persuasion, team and individual performance evaluation and management, networking skills, relationship improvement, decision making, and obtaining support, and work/life balance issues.
Cialdini, R. B., Morgan, N., & Tannen, D. (2013). On Communication. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Leaders must communicate often and effectively. The articles in this collection help you develop skills to: sell your ideas, connect with your audience and establish credibility, adapt to your colleagues, frame goals around their common interests, build consensus with them, and inspire them towards a common vision.
Goleman, D. Boyatzis, R., & Hansen, M. T. (2013). On Collaboration. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Collaboration is the lifeblood of academia. Fostering a collaborative environment is a critical skill and goal for academic leaders. This collection provides advice on how to forge strong relationships within and outside of your unit, manage conflict, build a collaborative culture and break down silos where helpful, know when (and when not) to collaborate, and discern the kind of collaboration that would be most effective.
Goleman, D., Katzenbach, J. R., & Kim, W. C. (2011). On Managing People. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Academic leaders are often embroiled with common, mundane, and time consuming management tasks. This collection helps you address these issues efficiently. Articles in this set are “Leadership That Gets Results”, “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” “The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome,” “Saving Your Rookie Managers from Themselves,” “What Great Managers Do,” “Fair Process: Managing in the Knowledge Economy,” “Teaching Smart People How to Learn,” “How (Un)ethical Are You?” “The Discipline of Teams,” and “Managing Your Boss.”
Consider for Your Leadership Bookshelf
Here we highlight some of the popular press literature on leadership, its skills, and its applications. While many were were written for a business setting, their lessons and stories are applicable to academic leadership.
Cialdini, R. (2001). Influence: Science and Practice (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
The most common definition of leadership involves “influence.” There are many ways of influencing, and the most commonly selected are actually some of the least effective. This book helps you develop skills to more effectively influence your unit members, and understand how they can influence you.
Ury, W. (1993). Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation. NY: Bantam.
Negotiation does not have to be combative. Instead of a fight, Ury helps you frame negotiation as an opportunity for everyone to win. Adversaries at the table can become partners through strategies presented in this classic book that will help you break through negotiation barriers and reach a point of cooperation.
Sutton, R. I. (2010). The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. Business Plus Publishers.
Sutton, R. I. (2017). The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People who Treat You Like Dirt. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“Assholes” are everywhere in the world, and unfortunately academia is not immune to the presence of these “jerks.” The original classic book and its follow-on manual provide strategies to help you (and through you, your unit) avoid, protect yourself, and fight back against the unsavory mean people.
Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. NY: Broadway.
The leadership duo Chip and Dan Heath (“Made to Stick”; “Decisive”; “The Power of Moments”) know that change is hard. People have two decision-making mechanisms: cognitive and emotional. Change is easier when your cognitive and emotional selves are in alignment. In response, they have written this useful (and easily read) book to help all managers make change easier. Using both anecdotes as well as social science research, the authors bring clarity to why change is hard, how to make it easier, pitfalls to watch for, and how to overcome common obstacles. For anyone trying to change an individual or group behavior(s) or a process, this book will make that work easier to understand, plan for, and implement.
Duhigg, C. (2014). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. NY: Random House Publishing Group.
Ancient philosophers knew the power of habit – the things we carry with us that can burden us or ease our journeys through life. This book helps you analyze your habits, strip away the unhelpful ones, and accentuate the good ones. This book is a mix of science and enlightening anecdote enable you to understand yourself more completely, and take charge of your life more consciously than ever before.
Ariely, D. (2012). The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves. NY: Harper.
Humans in general are excellent liars, even to ourselves. We often don’t even realize we are doing it. This quick, lively, easy to read book helps you unravel the complexity of (self)deception. This self-knowledge will position you to be a better, more authentic and ethical leader.
Patterson, K., Granny J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2011). Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High (2nd ed.). NY: McGraw-Hill.
Some conversations are more important than others. Some can even be life changing moments. Many people avoid these difficult, crucial conversations, (or handle them poorly) often exacerbating a problem or missing an opportunity in the process. This book helps you develop skills to confront these difficult moments in productive, persuasive ways through recommended phrases and actions tailored for many common situations. The authors also provide a 5-step conflict resolution plan.
Evenson, R. (2013). Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People: Over 325 Ready-to-Use Words and Phrases for Working with Challenging Personalities. NY: AMACOM.
Difficult people can knock you off your game. That is part of how they win. This book helps you develop immediate skills to maintain your composure and boundaries while managing the difficult person in a constructive way.
Bazerman, M. H., & Tenbrunsel, A. E. (2011). Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do About It. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Expressed and revealed preferences (that is, what we say we will do or want and what we actually do or want) often differ. As the poet T. S. Elliot said, “Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act, falls the shadow.” This book helps you dive into the murky shadow between your ideas of ethical behavior and your actual behaviors, come to terms with when you may deviate from your own ethical values (that is, you may not be as ethical as you think you are), and why you may often ignore unethical behavior when you encounter it. This book can help you take charge of your ethical behavior, a critical skill for leaders, who are naturally in role modeling positions.
Blanchard, K., & Johnson, S. (2015). The New One-Minute Manager. NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
This updated classic teaches three important lessons for leaders: how to set appropriate goals, how to praise followers, and how to reprimand them.
Blanchard, K., Zigarmi, P., & Zigarmi, D. (2013). Leadership and the One Minute Manager. NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
This is a good introductory book on leadership. The writing is very accessible and the short chapters lend themselves to the busy life of a leader. The core message of this book is that your colleagues do not all need the same things at the same times. This text can help you be more sensitive and aware of the needs of those you lead.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2017). The Leadership Challenge (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
This book, written by some of the most recognized people in leadership, covers topics important for all leaders: modeling, visioning, challenging, enabling, fostering collaboration, building relationships, and recognizing success. The style of writing is very accessible, and the text is replete with stories and examples. This text provides an excellent framework for improving your general leadership skills and abilities.
Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (1992). Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO to Take Control of Your Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Leaders are climate engineers. The way they relate to their followers sets the tone for other work unit members. However, the time constraints on leaders can be extreme, especially if a leader is appointed to lead a dysfunctional workgroup. The stress that results can yield unintentional negative consequences for leaders and followers alike. These negative consequences can extend into personal lives and health. It is important for the leader to both have and model appropriate boundaries in order to grow and maintain a positive healthy unit culture. This easy to read book provides practical guidance for the development of appropriate interpersonal boundaries.
Dweck, C. S. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. NY: Ballantine Books.
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, Ph.D., discusses the notion of mindset. She suggests that people are either fixed or fluid in their mindsets and that a fixed mindset can limit your potential. The good news for aspiring leaders: mindsets can be changed. This book helps you improve your fluid, growth oriented mindset and apply this idea to your unit culture.
Perkins, D. N. T., Holtman, M. P., & Murphy, J. B. (2016). Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition. NY: AMACOM.
A bad day at the office for Shackleton meant being without communications, having a ship that was utterly destroyed, and a choice to save the expedition that meant 4 men sailing across frigid waters with little hope of reaching anyone who could help. It took almost 2 years, yet he lost not a man. Perkins shows the value of alternating leadership styles; perseverance; building teams; trust; taking calculated risks; etc. An entirely readable book with some great lessons for today.
Ryan, K. D., & Oestreich, D. K. (1998). Driving Fear Out of the Workplace: Creating the High-Trust, High-Performance Organization (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Strategies for reducing fear, increasing trust, and understanding the dichotomy between them. Fear is a dangerous and powerful emotion that can drive unit members away from you and the organizational goals you represent. Fear can create coalitions that actively or unconsciously work against the institutional mission. This book helps you recognize the sources of fear and how to combat them in order to develop a climate of trust within your work unit.
Lombardo, M. M., & Eichinger, R. W. (1989). Preventing Derailment: What To Do Before It’s Too Late. Center for Creative Leadership Press.
Expectations for leaders change as they rise through the ranks. Too often, potential candidate plateau because they do not recognize this. Strengths at lower levels become liabilities at higher institutional levels. This report helps you recognize expectations and how you can continue to meet them as you enter leadership positions and prepare for new ones.
Pennebaker, J. W. (2011). The Secret Life of Pronouns. London: Bloomsbury.
Words are powerful. Our language reveals more about us—and others—than we might think. This book will help you realize how the use of language can help you understand your social relationships.
Lab Management Resources
Bonetta, L. (Ed.). (2006). Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty (2nd ed.). Available from http://www.hhmi.org/developing-scientists/making-right-moves
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute teamed up to prepare a course for biomedical scientists based upon feedback from early career scientists regarding the challenges they face in managing the many facets of their research career without formal management training. While tailored to biomedical faculty, there is advice for faculty in all units. Topics include obtaining and negotiating a faculty position, university structure and tenure planning, leading and staffing a lab, mentoring and being mentored, time and project management, data management and lab notebooks, funding, publishing and visibility, understanding technology transfer, collaborations, and teaching. A Chinese translation is available.
Barker, K. (2005). At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator. NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
This first http://www.hhmi.org/developing-scientists/making-right-movesvolume in a two volume companion set provides practical advice with the needs of junior scholars in mind. While written primarily for biological sciences, there is some relevant material for all groups conducting scientific research. If you run a biological lab, this resource can help you consistently onboard junior members and save you time.
Barker, K. (2010). At the Helm: Leading your Laboratory (2nd ed.). NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
This second volume in a two-volume companion set provides practical advice for people transitioning into the role of PI and head of a lab. It especially focuses on the personnel issues for which junior scholars are not responsible (e.g., interviewing, hiring, performance reviews, staff retention, motivation, organization, conflict).
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
This is one of the most popular textbooks on leadership. In this book, Northouse reviews the major areas of leadership inquiry, devoting a chapter to each. The structure of the chapters follows a formula: a detailed explanation, strengths and weaknesses, how to apply the style at work, end of chapter summary, self-evaluation survey, and cases. This structure enables quick appreciation for each leadership style and how you can apply it in your specific setting. This is perhaps the most accessible textbook on leadership.
Yukl, G. (2012). Leadership in Organizations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
This textbook reviews each major thrust of leadership research, devoting entire chapters to specific areas of leadership inquiry. This is a go-to for graduate studies in leadership.
Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2017). Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Recognized scholars of ethical leadership offer practical advice on how to manage workplace ethics. This text was designed for students, but is appropriate for anyone concerned about developing and maintaining an ethical culture. This text will help you understand your and your colleagues’ (un)ethical behaviors and will provide you with pragmatic skills to help you manage ethical dilemmas and violations.