6 No-Nonsense Books About Leadership Every Instructional Leader Should Read

Reading is essential to the growth of a leader, including instructional leaders. Whether you are leading from the classroom or you are in a role outside of the classroom, reading books that help you grow as a leader should be included in your personal development plan. Reading is one of the most efficient ways to acquire information, and leaders need a lot of information to be effective in the important work they do.

Leadership requires one to be informed in their unique area of expertise and other areas such as productivity, time management, and self-leadership. Tim Ferris has been known to say that reading three books on the same topic will make you an expert on that subject.

With the addition of tools like Audible, by Amazon, consuming great books can be done during your daily commute, while you are out on a jog, or while cooking dinner. Audible books have made reading great books especially assessable for leaders with a busy schedule. If you are not already a member of audible, use this link to get your first two books completely free.

Here are six non-education books every instructional leader should read (with links to make it easy for you to find them on Amazon).

*This post contains affiliate links


The Big Leap

The power in this book is its ability to give you a new way to analyze what you are truly capable of achieving. It challenges you to operate in your zone of genius as often as you can. As educators working in a system that can seem to require little more than the status quo, this book will keep you always searching for ways you can be the very best leader you can.

The Compound Effect

One thing every influential leader recognizes is our success and failures are the results of small choices we make every day. The author, Darren Hardy, gives practical tips for building habits that compound over time to produce dramatic success. His anecdotal stories and illustrations bring these points to life and will ponder deep reflection, and action, on your impact as an instructional leader.

How To Win Friends And Influence People

It’s important to have the ability to establish rapport with others, especially in leaders. Whether you are building relationships with students in your school or classroom, or interviewing for a new leadership role, relating well with others will be crucial in your journey. This classic book will teach you how to build influence by making others feel valued and important.

The Four-Hour Work Week

In order to serve as an educator and leader, you have to be able to manage time well. There are a number of ways you will be a better leader to your students and colleagues when time is maximized and priorities are placed in the right areas. This book is a gem because the time management principles suggested will help you in career, personal life, and in your business (if you’ve started one.)

The Miracle Morning

In my work with instructional leaders, time is often the perceived culprit for a lack of growth or productivity. Owning your morning will make you more aware of your purpose, and thus help you to become more purposeful in your mission. By implementing the strategies suggested in this book, you will be empowered in the early hours of the day to accomplish the most important goals and tasks during the entire day.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

No list of leadership books would be complete without one of the most popular books ever written on the subject of personal development. As the subtitle suggests, this book will teach you critical lessons in personal change. These lessons are important for instructional leaders because effective leadership always starts with effectively leading yourself.

Reading does more than give us a toolbox of ideas. It actually upgrades our analytical skills, especially our judgment and problem-solving abilities. Knowing what to read can make all the difference. Reading can sometimes be time consuming, but the fruit of the new knowledge you will attain is priceless. If you don’t already have a subscription to audible, catapult your skills as a leader by using this link to get your first two books totally free.

I love reading and talking about good books. Leave a comment below to tell me your favorite leadership book.




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  • Krystal Smith

    Great list of books, Kiana! I intend to read the last 3 books. I came across The Miracle Morning this weekend, and I have been contemplating reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for a few months, but I have been reading other books on my list. Thank you for motivating and encouraging teachers to reach their full potential!

    • Kiana Porter-Isom

      The Miracle Morning was one of the best books I read last year. It helped me start my days with so much more clarity and intention.

  • Keon Armstrong

    I’ve read 4 out of the six books. “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” changed my life. Excellent recommendations! I will share this with every teacher I know.

    • Kiana Porter-Isom

      Thank you Keon for sharing.

  • LaKisha Riddick

    I love Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It was my first leadership book.

    • kporterisom@gmail.com

      It is definitely a classic.

    • Kiana Porter-Isom

      LaKisha, you choose a great one to start with. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

  • Stephanie Simpson

    Great post! 7 Habits was one of the first books I read when I started my Masters!