10 Leadership Books Every Project Manager Should Read


The most successful project managers are the ones that always strive to continue learning and developing. The art of project management is always changing, so project managers need to stay on top of the latest methodologies and tools that will set them apart from the rest.
One of the most important traits in project management is leadership. You can have all the knowledge and skill in the world, but if you don’t have the right leadership qualities, you’ll struggle to lead your team to success. Here are ten leadership books that every project manager should read:

1. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams – Tom DeMarco

The premise of this book is that your people are the key to any project success. True leadership is about bringing out the potential in all stakeholders involved in your project and enabling them to shine. DeMarco argues that most project problems are human, not technical issues. Once you manage your team in the right way you eliminate many problems.

2. Conflict 101: A Manager’s Guide to Resolving Problems So Everyone Can Get Back to Work -Susan H. Shearouse

One thing that can often be unavoidable in a large project with many stakeholders is conflict. The ability to settle conflict and avoid it entirely is what separates an average leader from a great one. Shearouse examines what can create conflict within a team and how project managers can manage it effectively through navigating relationships, encouraging collaboration and developing compromises.

Project Manager

3. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey

This book explores what it takes to be a great leader and how to bring the best out of not only yourself but your team. It highlights seven key habits that need to be adopted and implemented in order to blossom into the leader you’ve always wanted to be. The seven habits Covey analysis are:

Being proactive
Always have the end goal in mind
Having a win-win mindset
Understand first, then be understood
Always look to improve your skills

4. Project Management for Humans: Helping People Get Things Done - Brett Harned

Harned’s book places emphasis on the importance of leaders not getting bogged down in the tools and practices of project management. Instead, Harned argues that people are the crucial element of the whole project management process. To be a true leader, project managers need to learn the art of people management so they can avoid conflict and get the best out of their team.

5. The Velocity Advantage – Jack Bergstrand

The Velocity Advantage analysis the importance of team management and encouragement to get the most out of an organisations most important resource; people. This is a must-read for project managers who want to learn more about the importance of consistent project teamwork. Bergstrand explores the skill involved in building cross-functional collaboration to achieve business success.

6. Leadership Step by Step: Become the Person Others Follow – Joshua Spodek

The best project managers are also true leaders. This is the message Spodek drives home throughout his book, placing an emphasis on the importance of project managers being confident and calm with the ability to always empathize with their team. Leadership Step by Step is for those project managers looking to improve the art of managing both projects and people.

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Carnegie’s book focuses on the importance of mastering the soft skills that make a truly great leader. It explores the importance of leaders making people feel appreciated, supported and how to keep them motivated. This book provides guidance on how to improve your negotiating skills, people development skills and how to become a better leader.


8. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything – Stephen Covey

What’s the most significant factor to becoming a great leader? According to Covey the answer is Trust. In his book, Covey explores the impact trust has on the lives of professionals and how it can either build or destroy credibility. The Speed of Trust looks at the 13 behaviours common among all great leaders, with examples of how to use trust to get the most of a project team.

9. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

For years we were told that our IQ was the determining factor in our future success. Goleman argues that it is, in fact, our emotional intelligence (EQ) that makes great leaders. In his book he analyses the role emotion plays in the workforce and how great leaders are able to use it to motivate others to achieve project objectives.

10. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t – Simon Sinek

When a team feels safe, they’re more open to new ideas, more willing to collaborate and more confident to share their thoughts. This is the view of renowned author Simon Sinek, who explores this argument in his novel Leaders Eat Last, where he looks at the importance of fostering trust and cooperation within a team environment.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, the ten leadership books that every project manager should read. Take the guidance and advise from these renowned authors and become the leader your team is crying out for.

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