Leadership Books Lead the Pack at #SHRM16

It is always interesting to see what the SHRMStore’s top sellers are each year at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition. Beyond what I expect—the keynote speakers’ books, books approved for SHRM recertification credit and “I Love HR” accessories—the items that sell best give a glimpse into the challenges HR professionals face and the tools they are looking for to help meet their needs.

This year, while many HR topics stood out—employee relations, compliance and performance management, to name a few—the one topic that beat all others was leadership. Books that dealt with transitioning from manager to leader, understanding and cultivating your personal brand, and building trust were among the top sellers. 

Opening keynote speakers Alan Mulally and Mike Rowe kicked things off with a perspective of how leadership drives business forward. And social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy only strengthened the message by showing how facing the light, embracing the call to lead and driving forward confidently are invaluable skills for any HR professional to master. 

Whether it was these and other inspiring sessions that galvanized attendees or a matter of HR practitioners embracing the behavioral competencies that define their mission, the topic of leadership stood out more than in years past. 

Here are 10 books that were among the top-selling leadership titles at #SHRM16

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (Little, Brown, 2015) by Amy Cuddy. Presents the science underlying “power poses” and teaches readers simple techniques aimed at reducing stress in high-pressure situations.

Marketing Brand YOU: Moving from Chaos to Clarity (The Batie Group, 2010) by LaFern Batie. Tips on positioning yourself to become the CEO of your career by enhancing your brand. For example, the book describes how to develop a strong professional portfolio.

The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line (Free Press, 2012) by David Horsager. A guide on how to build the eight pillars of trust: clarity, compassion, character, competency, commitment, connection, contribution and consistency.

Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014) by Dan Schawbel. Takes readers through a step-by-step process of creating a unique personal brand and leveraging it to maximum advantage. For example, the book presents research revealing the top 10 attributes managers look for when making promotion decisions.

Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results (Wiley, 2010) by Cy Wakeman. Filled with dynamic examples, innovative tools and diagnostic tests, this book shows you how to diffuse drama and uncover destructive patterns of behavior. Approved for SHRM recertification credit.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (TalentSmart, 2009) by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. Proven strategies for increasing EQ that target self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Approved for SHRM recertification credit.

Make Change Work: Staying Nimble, Relevant, and Engaged in a World of Constant Change (Wiley, 2013) by Randy Pennington. Advice for leaders on how to design and implement a strategy that allows you to successfully lead change in your organization, including guidance on how to build support and create a sense of urgency.

The Leader Phrase Book: 3,000+ Powerful Phrases That Put You in Command (Career Press, 2012) by Patrick Alain. This reference book contains phrases that will enable you to master important conversations and argue effectively in a variety of important situations.

Defining HR Success: 9 Critical Competencies for HR Professionals (SHRM, 2015) by Kari R. Strobel, James N. Kurtessis, Debra J. Cohen and Alexander Alonso. An in-depth review of the nine critical HR competencies practitioners need to have to be leaders in their field.

The Art of War for Women (Crown Business, 2010) by Chin-Ning Chu. This adaptation of the ancient masterpiece The Art of War shows women how to use Sun Tzu’s philosophy to tap into their strengths, such as their natural negotiation skills, and overcome obstacles that stand in their way.

With HR professionals continuing to focus on and develop their leadership skills, it’s certain their organizations will reap the benefits and become more effective.


Originally posted on the SHRM Book Blog.



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