Leadership Toolbox: Reading List PART 2

A Reading List for Leaders, Part 2, from the Alloy Solutions Team

This is Part 2 in our Reading List series. Click Here for Part 1!

Perhaps the best part of being in the business of developing people is that you come across some truly outstanding resources for personal development. Scratch that - the best part is sharing those resources with others and watching their growth.

With that in mind, the Solutions Team has compiled the following list of our favorite books on personal growth and professional development. You can see the list for yourself, and if anything catches your eye, grab a copy for yourself on Amazon (links included below).

The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek
As Simon Sinek explains, most of us approach business goals like a series of finite games: short, defined periods with expressed goals and a clear endpoint. We chase quarterly sales goals and annual quotas. We know the rules and we know who else is playing, and we do anything we need to do to win THIS game. Then...

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Leading When You're Not Sure What to Say

Leading When You're Not Sure What to Say, by Ryan Hansen

I am at a loss for words this week.

The last several days have been filled with hurtful words, painful scenes on unfolding in city streets and TV screens, and challenging - but heartfelt and important - conversations with friends and family. I find myself struggling to find the words to support and lead through days like these.

If you are leading people right now, you have probably found yourself in a similar place. Every day brings a new challenge, so how can we know what our people need from us? When they look to us for leadership, will we be prepared to answer? Great leaders are forged in crisis, and we are certainly in the middle of a leadership crisis right now.

The simple truth is this: in a crisis of humanity, the solution is human values. We need to connect with each other as people, more than as coworkers. Many of us have spent careers learning and perfecting every intricacy of the modern workplace...

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Resources for Leaders During Uncertain Times

Former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt said, "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." After the last few weeks, I suspect we're all starting to feel like Ferdinand Magellan, the Portugese explorer who sailed all the way around the globe in 1519. Perhaps some days you feel more like the famous castaway Robinson Crusoe.

Whether you're feeling like an accomplished mariner or still finding your sea legs, rest easy knowing that you are facing down the same challenges as millions of other leaders around the world. That's really overwhelming, isn't it? Millions of leaders, all trying to solve the same set of problems. I have good news for you: millions of leaders are all trying to solve the same set of problems.

The global scale of our circumstances means that there are global truths in our circumstances. We're all stressed. We're all uncertain. We're all adjusting to new routines. Once again, the good news: when we all face similar problems, we can all...

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Leadership, Grief, and COVID-19

Leadership, Grief, and COVID-19, by Jamie Hansen, M.S., LPC

We are truly living in history. As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold around the globe, circumstances are changing every day and the leaders among us have been called to sort out how we move forward through these unprecedented times.

After 20 years as a counselor (I still maintain my license), I cannot help but watch the local and global reactions to this crisis through the lens of a mental health professional. I spent years watching people deal with all sorts of situations in their personal and professional lives, and it occurred to me this week that I recognize what's happening on a local and global level. This is grief.

 Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first outlined her five stages of grief in 1969. More than fifty years later, the Kubler-Ross model is still playing out in front of our eyes. Let's take a look at how these stages of grief are presenting themselves through this...

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Leadership Toolbox: Reading List

A Reading List for Leaders, from the Alloy Solutions Team

Imagine, if you can, suddenly finding yourself with some extra time on your hands. Perhaps your office is closed to the public and you are working from home for the next few weeks, wiping out hours of commuting and meetings from your schedule. How will you spend this newfound time?

Certainly, you will have to adjust to your new surroundings and adapt your habits to fit new routines. Would you use this time to learn a new skill or knock out some chores you have been putting off? Maybe you're a personal-growth junkie like me, and you need something to keep your mind occupied so you can stay focused and motivated. To that end, I surveyed our Alloy team members to create a list of our favorite books on personal growth and professional development.

You can see the list for yourself, and if anything speaks to you, go ahead and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon (links included below).

This is Part 1 in our Reading List...

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Healthy Tips for Tumultuous Times

Healthy Tips for Tumultuous Times, by Jamie Hansen

“Mama said there’d be days like this,” sang The Shirelles in 1961. While no one could possibly have predicted the mass emergency declarations, corporate policy changes, and major event cancellations that we’ve seen nationwide this week, those words do ring true. Times of major change and uncertainty do, and will, continue to come upon us. While the breadth and depth of all of these changes at once may have us in unchartered waters, dealing with change itself is not new territory. In fact, there are learnings we can apply from the seas of change we’ve sailed before. Here are a few strategies to keep your physical and mental health boat afloat as we head into some choppy and sometimes scary - though not completely unchartered - seas.

1. When you can't do something about the situation, do something with it.

Let’s face it – there’s a significant feeling of loss of control in this...

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Looking for a New Habit? Try Resilience.

How Leaders Use Resilience to Sustain Excellence, by Ryan Hansen

This week marks the first full week of a brand-new decade! I hope that this week finds you full of excitement, optimism, and amazing plans for big things to come in the new year.

As we kick off the new year, it seems that a single topic is getting the most attention: Habits. My inbox and social media feeds have been filled to the brim with suggestions from every expert, influencer, and thought leader on the habits that made them successful. Frankly, every article seems to suggest the same few things. Wake up at 5 AM. Establish a morning routine. Budget your time. Get daily exercise.

Without a doubt, these are good suggestions. I won't disagree with any of them - in fact, I have incorporated many of them into my personal life. However, in everything I have read, one piece is missing: What happens when circumstances interrupt our habits? How do we sustain our positive momentum?

Even with all the planning...

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Leading through the Holiday Stress

Leading through the Holiday Stress, by Ryan Hansen


It's that time of year again! The air is changing, the leaves are changing colors, and the days are getting shorter. Joyous holiday plans are coming together, families and friends are gathering around tables, and belts are loosening across the country.


It's that time of year again. The calendars are filling, deadlines are piling up, and the final business days of 2019 are bearing down. Schedules are unpredictable, clients and coworkers are unreachable, and tensions are increasing across the country.


If your workplace is anything like mine, both of these cases are true for you in November and December. The holiday season brings a slew of stressful scenarios, unlike anything the rest of the year has to offer. In many cases, it's the necessary trade-off for spending more time with family and friends to celebrate the season. As team members at every level - from the production floor to the boardroom - spend more...

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The Value of a Strengths-First Approach

The Value of a Strengths-First Approach, by Michael Beaulieu

One of my favorite programs I am involved in at The University of Nebraska is working as a Student Strengths Coach in the College of Business. I use my knowledge of the Gallup StrengthsFinder to coach freshmen on how to use their Top 5 Clifton Strengths in their daily lives. Between my experience working for Alloy and as a Student Strengths Coach, a few key lessons have distinguished themselves. Here are a few:

1. Focus on Improving Your Strengths, not "Fixing" Your Weaknesses

In high school, I would look at my report and typically see all A's and B's. Except for math, which typically sat at a C or C+. At the time I thought I needed to boost my math grade for scholarships and other applications. However, while my math grade went up to a B, I saw my A's fall down to B's. When I focused my energy on improving a weakness, I saw my strengths decline. I always tell my students not to think of the StrengthsFinder as a progress...

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Confidence: Why You Need it and How to Create It

Confidence: Why You Need It and How to Create It, by Ryan Hansen

Last month, during our Leader-Chip leadership summit, we had an interesting conversation about the role of confidence in succeeding as a leader. Actually, it wasn't a conversation at all - it was a debate! As two of our attendees argued over whether or not leaders can "fake it until they make it," the rest of the group listened closely and even voted on which side they agreed with. More on that later.

What was not up for debate was this: leaders cannot succeed without confidence. Confidence is a prerequisite for leadership. More specifically, self-confidence is the foundation upon which leadership can grow. Vince Lombardi explained it as "Confidence is contagious. So is a lack of confidence." Confidence lets us make decisions, have difficult conversations, and rally the people around us. How can a leader inspire their team members to follow through on a new initiative without confidence? I'll let John Maxwell...

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