The best books on leadership communication

Who am I?

Dianna Booher is the bestselling author of 49 books (Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, McGraw-Hill), in 62 foreign editions, with nearly 4 million copies sold. More than two dozen of her books focus on communication, and she’s facilitated workshops on the topic for 4 decades. She helps leaders shape their own message in book form at Booher Book Camps.

I wrote...

Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done

By Dianna Booher,

Book cover of Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done

What is my book about?

People often get promoted to leadership positions without knowing how to communicate an inspiring strategic vision to the people who report to them. So they focus on what they know: tactics, not strategy. As a result, they become stuck in micromanagement mode. Dianna Booher wants to prevent micromanagement before it happens by providing you with the right leadership communication skills. Grounded in extensive research, this book offers practical guidelines to help professionals think, coach, converse, speak, write, meet, and negotiate strategically to deliver results. In thirty-six brief chapters, Booher shows you how to communicate effectively to audiences up and down the organization so you can fulfill your most essential responsibilities as a leader.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Why did I love this book?

Anyone who expects to be a leader understands that they must be a persuasive communicator: to gain buy-in for their goals and projects, to help others rally around a mission or cause, to build loyalty among team members, to energize people to “go the extra mile” when they’re tired and see few rewards for their efforts.

This book identifies, categorizes, and illustrates the six ways leaders communicate to reach people logically and emotionally to change hearts and minds. I love this book because it rings true to my own experience.

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The foundational and wildly popular go-to resource for influence and persuasion-a renowned international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold-now revised adding: new research, new insights, new examples, and online applications.

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini-New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion-explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don't have…

Book cover of Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life

Why did I love this book?

Having read so very many books on body language (and having written a couple myself), I love finding a book that provides much broader cross-cultural research and deeper insights on a specialized, important aspect like facial expressions!

How shocking to learn that there are more than 500 micro-facial expressions, telling people exactly what we feel about any given situation! To be able to read such facial expressions would give leaders an incredible advantage as they communicate—negotiating around the conference table, . . . conducting a job interview, . . . or strategizing with a potential partner, . . . or choosing a spouse!

By Paul Ekman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emotions Revealed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whatever culture we come from, emotions play a huge role in our lives and in every relationship within them. Whether anger, joy, fear or sorrow, they can be incredibly powerful things - but can be equally hard to understand or control. In "Emotions Revealed", Paul Ekman draws on a lifetime's study to take the reader on a complete tour of the emotional self. Against a background of specially commissioned photographs and forceful news images from around the world, he examines and explains how, when and why we become emotional and how far we can change what we get emotional about;…

Book cover of Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Why did I love this book?

For more than three decades now, we’ve seen corporations, nonprofits, and governments go under because one or more of their executive leaders proved emotionally unstable. Those leaders were either narcissistic, paranoid, bipolar, impulsive, or immature (temper tantrums, poor coping skills, crying, withdrawing, pouting).

Without self-awareness—and the awareness to identify emotional instability in others—leaders cannot hope to connect genuinely and build personal influence and loyalty among colleagues and staffers.

I love this book because of its research and real-life case studies. With almost every chapter, you’ll say, “Oh, I know that guy or gal!”

Better: You learn how to cope with them (or maybe more importantly, you learn if it will be impossible to ever cope with them).

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Intelligence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emotional Intelligence was an international phenomenon, appearing on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year and selling more than 5 million copies worldwide. Now, once again, Daniel Goleman has written a groundbreaking synthesis of the latest findings in biology and brain science, revealing that we are 'wired to connect' and the surprisingly deep impact of our relationships on every aspect our lives.

Far more than we are consciously aware, our daily encounters with parents, spouses, bosses, and even strangers, shape our brains and affect cells throughout our bodies, down to the level of our genes - for…

Book cover of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

Why did I love this book?

In Maxwell’s book, the essence of leadership communication is reduced to one concept: integrity of the leader within. That is, leaders can’t communicate values, visions, and ethics that they don’t internalize. His message to readers: Don’t try to preach what you don’t practice because it won’t sell and it won’t jell with those you lead!

Basically, the heart of his message comes from the Biblical verse, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Leaders know that they can NEVER depend on logic alone to build a compelling case. As a leader, their communication must appeal to emotions as well. And being a likeable, approachable, humble leader makes the all-important connection.

What’s more, “the leader within,” unfortunately, can cause the disconnection!

By John C. Maxwell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What would happen if a leadership expert were willing to distill everything he's learned in his 30+ years of experience into a handful of life-changing principles just for you? It would change your life.

Internationally-recognized leadership expert and bestselling author John C. Maxwell wrote his million-seller The 21 Laws of Leadership over ten years ago. Now, this expanded and updated edition of one of the most trusted and referenced leadership books features revised content that is fundamental to any leader.

Maxwell provides new learnings that makes his original bestseller bigger and better including:

Sharpening and updating every Law of Leadership…

Book cover of The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

Why did I love this book?

Once again, I love books based on solid research—all the better if based on several decades of solid research, as is the case with this book. The authors, both consultants and university professors, have collected data and lectured worldwide on how leaders communicate to make things happen in both large organizations and in smaller entrepreneurial ventures.
Once again, they have real-life stories “right from the front lines” of ordinary people who learned to use their communication skills and influence to do important things—in many cases, without title or position.

Kouzes is a Fellow of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University. Posner is an endowed Professor of Leadership and Chair of the Management & Entrepreneurial Department, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

By Barry Z. Posner, James M. Kouzes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Leadership Challenge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most trusted source of leadership wisdom, updated to address today's realities The Leadership Challenge is the gold-standard manual for effective leadership, grounded in research and written by the premier authorities in the field. With deep insight into the complex interpersonal dynamics of the workplace, this book positions leadership both as a skill to be learned, and as a relationship that must be nurtured to reach its full potential.

This new sixth edition has been revised to address current challenges, and includes more international examples and a laser focus on business issues; you'll learn how extraordinary leaders accomplish extraordinary things,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in leadership, persuasion, and success in life?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about leadership, persuasion, and success in life.

Leadership Explore 322 books about leadership
Persuasion Explore 21 books about persuasion
Success In Life Explore 205 books about success in life

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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