If you have your heart set on a promotion at your workplace, you’re probably doing everything in your power to show up as a star employee. You’re meeting your deadlines, going above and beyond for your team, and showing up early. You’re filled to the brim with ideas to take the company to the next level…but have you thought about reading?
One of our favorite questions for applicants at Health and Fitness Activations is, “are you a reader?” This likely strays from many companies’ list of interview questions, but we’ve found time and again the saying leaders are readers is usually true. Avid readers are curious people, eager for different ways to stimulate their mind and consistently take it upon themselves to seek out new knowledge to expand their way of thinking.
We asked the HFA leadership team for books that helped them advance into the next level of their careers. See our top 7 picks below:
1. Traction by Gino Wickman
Fair warning: Traction reads like a textbook, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It cuts out all the fluff you’d find in many other business development books and gets right to the meat of what can make a company successful. Traction is filled with actionable steps to help clarify systems, set goals, and create a clear company vision. If you’re aiming for a promotion, read Traction for a deeper understanding of business fundamentals and to spark ideas to make your company or industry operate more effectively.
2. Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni
Whether we’re looking for brand ambassadors, market managers, or internal staff, one of the top questions we ask ourselves is: “are they a team player?” Ideal Team Player explains in a fable format the personality traits of a person that puts the team first…and of personality traits that can hinder a team’s upward momentum. Lencioni explains that the ideal team player demonstrates an equal balance between being hungry, humble, and smart and teaches readers how they can self-assess and, for those in leadership, assess their direct reports or job candidates.
3. Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Culture Code is an enjoyable read that has a little something for everyone. Written as an anthology, Culture Code shares a variety of culture examples and how the leaders within those companies developed their cultural standards and practices. Following sports teams, theatre groups, and large tech companies, it’s easy to find something that will resonate with you and translate well to your team.
4. Radical Candor by Kim Scott
Similar to Traction, Scott’s Radical Candor reads a little like a textbook and can take some time to get into. If you’re looking for more responsibility at work, most likely that means opening yourself up for feedback and potentially delivering feedback to direct reports. Regardless of the side of feedback you’re on, Radical Candor provides tips to structure feedback, emphasizes the importance of candid conversations and ways to make it a routine part of any company.
5. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
It likely won’t surprise anyone to find a Brené Brown book on this list. Dare to Lead pairs nicely with Radical Candor touting that clear communication is kind and encourages leaders to be brave enough to have the tough conversations. Using personal and professional examples from her life, Brown suggests a variety of ways for readers to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, showing how consistent vulnerability can lead to great progress.
6. Atomic Habits by James Clear
Chances are good you’re already familiar with this one. There’s a ton of press around Atomic Habits and rightfully so. James Clear writes about the power of simple habits and how to build habits through a series of four laws. In the context of a promotion, Atomic Habits is a valuable read because it helps one identify what habits need to develop to excel. Generally, we all know what habits and traits we need to incorporate to make ourselves a candidate for promotion but get bogged down in how to bridge the gap. Clear provides simple and easily digestible steps to help readers uplevel, in any and every aspect of their life.
7. Strength Finder 2.0 from Gallup by Don Clifton
Who doesn’t love a personalized strength assessment? Strength Finder provides a code to an online questionnaire and with the results generates a comprehensive guide into your greatest strengths. We found the results to be so insightful and accurate we bought each of our internal team members a copy and encouraged everyone to share their results. Now when you’re interviewing for a promotion and the recruiter inevitably asks, “what are your greatest strengths?” you can provide a research-backed answer. More importantly, you’ll be able to seek out roles and tasks that allow your talents to shine.
Some of our greatest ideas to enhance our workplace culture and approach the ever-changing world of experiential marketing have come from these books. Are there any books you’d add to this list?