Two great books to add to your summer reading list are “Lead to Lift Up Others: Leadership Insights From a Caregiver’s Perspective” and “Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams.”
“Lead to Lift Up Others” is authored by Lansing’s Ross P. Woodstock, an executive coach and leadership development consultant with a rich background in media and public relations. Last summer when many of us were wringing our hands over the many losses of the pandemic, Woodstock took the opportunity of the slowdown to write this book. He shares 12 leadership insights from his years as a caregiver for his wife, Sharen, who suffered a stroke in 2007.
Well-known local television news anchor Sheri Jones said this about Woodstock’s book: “In learning to look at life differently, Ross developed 12 principles and a road map for personal development. Those principles, paired with actionable items, guide you through your own leadership journey. Since reading Ross’ book, I have already put his principles in practice, and I am a better leader because of it.”
On the back cover, Woodstock said, “One of the essential truths in leadership today is that being a leader is not about you. Your greatest reward as a leader will come from investing yourself into the lives of those around you.” This really resonates with our modern work world of an emphasis on employee engagement and retention.
What also resonates in these times is the emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. The second book, “Inclusify,” is authored by Stefanie K. Johnson, a management professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. She combines two human needs — to stand out and to fit in — into a new word, inclusfiy. In the book jacket, she said, “Leaders who can inclusify can forge stronger relationships with their teams, inspire greater productivity in all of their workers and create a more positive environment for everyone. Having a true range of different voices is good for the bottom line — it allows for the development of the most innovative and creative solutions that are essential to success.”
She shares insights from CEOs in America, offers action items for both individuals and for teams, and shares her personal story as a poor Latina from Los Angeles to obtaining a Ph.D. and doing research on leadership. She offers practical strategies for becoming an inclusifier such as “hear the bleat” — engaging in conscious empathy to ensure leaders hear everyone’ perspectives. Johnson also shares common mistakes managers make in their quest for more diversity, equity and inclusion.
Both books are easy to read, offer powerful insights to ponder, and provide action steps to improve managing and leading others. Have a great summer and happy reading.