2012, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.

It has taken me a long time to read this one.  Peter referred to Kouzes and Posner when he was working on his PhD so I have a sense of connection to this title.  I’ve put this book is at the top of the reading list intentionally.  Kouzes and Posner have captured the broad foundations of how to lead with excellence and through their research, they have distilled five leadership practices that fully integrate how to lead both strategically and with emotional intelligence.  I’d suggest this book is a strong starting point to build an understanding about leadership, and then explore some of the other titles if you want to drill down in more detail.  The leadership practices are;

1. Model the Way explores the necessity for setting the example, and actually living the espoused values of the organization.  This is a common thread throughout the leadership literature and is vital to earning the trust of your constituents. 

2. Inspired a Shared Vision goes beyond simply casting a vision.  It requires the leader to tap into the common aspirations of all, and to make that vision motivational.

3. Challenge the Process identifies that leadership is about moving toward a preferred future which means disrupting the status quo.  Kouzes and Posner show how to support the learning and motivation needed for any change process . 

4. Enable Others to Act identifies that excellent leaders do not have all the ideas and solutions within themselves.  They foster a context of collaboration and trust where their constituents are able to freely share their ideas and solutions. 

5. Encourage the Heart is about recognizing that affirmations, acknowledgements, recognitions and celebrations are essential to maintaining motivation.  Kouzes and Posner distinguish the need for both small wins and larger milestone celebrations of achievement.

This book integrates stories, research and principles in a way that will help you to consider how to live these principles in your own leadership context, making the book both inspirational and practical.