4 Books Every Aspiring Leader Should Read

Celebrating You

Great leaders are almost always readers. Are you ready to turn some pages?

Wayne McFarland in the produce area of a super center

No matter where you are in your career, reading about the experiences of other leaders can help you develop greater skills.

Wayne McFarland Jr. is a great example of this. Today he’s vice president and regional general manager for Walmart Region 76. He says reading played a big part in shaping his leadership style.

“The wisdom in these books really helped me,” he says. “From about 2010 to 2018, I read 10 to 15 books a year — it was rare to find me without a book in my hand!”

Here are four titles Wayne found especially helpful:

1. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Author Patrick Lencioni explores how teams work together. He also explains some common problems teams face — including lack of trust and fear of conflict — and gives tips to address them so that your teamwork can become dreamwork.

2. The CEO Test

Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer wrote this book for leaders at every level — not just CEOs. It can help you master the challenges all leaders face. These include delivering high-level results, taking criticism and making unpopular decisions. The authors give hundreds of examples to guide you.

3. Built To Lead

Author David Long shares the strategies that helped him get to the top 10% in three different industries. And they can help you get to the next level in your career. He also offers tips for inspiring associates to achieve greatness.

4. Bringing Out the Best in People

Spoiler alert: This book by Aubrey C. Daniels focuses on the power of positive reinforcement to keep folks cheerful and engaged at work. It also offers tips for how to motivate people of all ages and make work a happier place.

These four books helped Wayne close gaps in his leadership skills and move forward in his career. They also inspired his personal catchphrase, “Do Greatness!”

Wayne McFarland interacting with a diverse group of store associates

For Wayne, strong leadership means putting associates first. “The more I know about an associate — their likes, dislikes, what motivates them — the better I can lead them,” Wayne explains. “The first thing I tell new managers is to slow down and learn your people. If you understand them, the rest of the job gets a lot easier.”

Ready to become the best leader you can be? Take a page out of Wayne’s book and check out these inspiring titles.

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