My post on recommended reads for leaders just wasn’t enough. (I have too many favorites!) So here’s a special list reserved just for women leaders including practical tools for discovering your strengths and conflict resolution, inspiring stories, and challenges to change the world.
My Lucky 13 Favorite Leadership Books for Women:
1. Half the Sky: turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. A challenging and captivating read for men as well, this book not only broadened my perspective on global issues affecting women but also showed me practically what I could do to help. The profiles of leaders and courageous change agents still inspire me.
2. Find Your Strongest Life: what the happiest and most successful women do differently by Marcus Buckingham. A practical read based on his premise of focusing on your strengths and managing around your weaknesses, I have recommended this reader-friendly resource many times.
3. Gifted to Lead: the art of leading as a woman in the church by Nancy Beach. This is a must-read for all women leading in ministry environments.
4. Just Lead: a no whining, no complaining, no-nonsense practical guide for women leading in the church by Sherry Surratt and Jenni Catron. Another must-read for women leading in a ministry context.
5. Leading Women Who Wound: strategies for an effective ministry by Sue Edwards and Kelley Mathews. Over the years, Dr. Sue Edwards has been my boss, mentor, advisor and friend. She teams up with Kelley Mathews to provide practical tools for walking through conflict and working with difficult personalities.
6. Lean In: women, work and the will to lead by Sheryl Sandberg. This international best-seller offers a peak into the life and leadership of one of Forbes Magazine’s most powerful women.
7. The Myth of the Perfect Mother: rethinking the spirituality of women by Carla Barnhill. When I became a mother, I was introduced to the conflict still going on inside the Church as to what moms “should” do and be. I read this book with a group of friends who were also young moms and we found words for some of the feelings and expectations we had and grace for our different approaches to motherhood.
8. My Answer Is No, If That’s Ok with You: how women can say no with confidence by Nanette Gartrell, M.D. For all the people pleasers out there, this is a must-read. With chapters broken down by settings and situations we all face, this book was an empowering resource for my leadership.
9. Nice Girls Don’t Change the World by Lynne Hybels. Perhaps one of the most catalytic (and tiny) books I have ever read, Lynne’s story and charge to be “Dangerous Women” changed my perspective and the trajectory of our women’s ministry. I will never settle for being a “nice girl” again.
10. Peacemaking Women by Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Dabler. These authors from Peacemakers Ministries provide what I consider to be the handbook for women in peacemaking and conflict resolution.
11. See Jane Lead: 99 ways for women to take charge at work by Lois P. Frankel PhD. A spunky, thorough approach to leadership basics for women, this book is a quick and practical read.
12. Successful Women Think Differently: 9 habits to make you happier, healthier and more resilient by Valorie Burton. Focusing on the power of our thought-lives, this practical guide includes great self-coaching questions.
13. Work Love Pray: practical wisdom for young professional Christian women by Dianne Paddison. I wish I had read this book the day after college graduation, but was thankful to have read it even now. Through her own story, this successful author shares her mistakes and successes and what she has learned along the way.