How much confidence do you have in your current understanding of leadership? How would you rate your level of knowledge regarding leadership?

If I asked you this question: What is leadership? How would you reply? How you answer this one question reveals a great deal about your knowledge of leadership. Take a moment and picture yourself answering the question out loud.

Consider how you answered the question. Did you respond quickly with a concise and knowledgeable description? Did you reply with your thoughts or quote a leadership expert’s definition? Perhaps you answered with a description of how one practices the art of leadership. How you answer the question reveals something about you and your understanding of what it means to be a leader.

Are you a life-long learner like I am? If so, you understand the life-long pursuit of knowledge for both personal and professional reasons motivates us to grow and expand our understanding. Therefore, I want to recommend the four books that I suggest to everyone preparing for a leadership role.

I recommend my own book on followership as one of the four. Take a look at my comments on the four books, and you will see why.

On Becoming A Leader: Warren Bennis

Becoming a leader is more than knowledge; it’s a journey. Bennis, takes his readers and guides them along on the journey to becoming a leader.

Leaders invent themselves.

The ingredients of leadership cannot be taught, however. They must be learned.

The Effective Executive: Peter Drucker

Drucker has essential and useful information for those wanting to become an executive.

Effectiveness is a habit; that is a complex of practices. And practices can always be learned.

Effectiveness, while capable of being learned, surely cannot be taught. Effectiveness is, after all, not a “subject,” but self-discipline.

Certain Trumpets: The Call of Leaders: Garry Wills

Wills sounds the trumpet call. What does it take to be a leader? Don’t skip the Introduction!

Leadership is always a struggle, often a feud.

We easily forget the first and all-encompassing need. The leader most needs followers.

The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leader and followers.

Creative Followership: Jimmy Collins

To be an effective leader, you must understand how to be a follower, a creative follower. Using his personal experiences, Collins starts with choosing your leader and continues to the filling of senior executive roles.

A leader is someone who has followers.

The unifying purpose is that which joins leaders and followers together.

You will perform best when you have a boss who is a leader you can respect and follow.

Effective leaders usually do not give highly detailed instructions; it is up to you, the creative follower, to interpret and expand into an executable form the goals, objectives, and big-picture tasks of the unifying purpose.


If your career objective is to be a leader, I recommend these four books.

–Jimmy Collins

My latest book, Jimmy’s Stories is available on Amazon:

My first book, Creative Followership is also available on Amazon:

Signed and personalized books are available on

Creative Followership

Jimmy’s Stories