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Steph's Guide to Leadership Resources under $20

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Maybe you run a shop of one, and you’re wondering why leadership is such a big deal. Maybe you’re just staring in your career, and the only thing you’re in charge of is the plant you put on your desk, so leadership doesn’t feel nearly as important as meeting your current deadlines. Maybe leadership always came naturally to you, so you haven’t taken as much time to grow your skills. Let me tell you: leadership will grow your shop of one to a shop of more. Leadership is the difference between staying at your desk and moving up. Leadership is the difference between stagnation and success.

I also know that when you’re just starting out, you may not have the cash to enroll in a leadership institute or attend that conference you watch highlights of on Instagram. Until you can enroll in that institute or attend that conference, here are my top leadership resources for $18.35 or less! So, skip a couple coffee runs and grow with me.

Books in order of recommendation

  1. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willnik and Leif Babin: $15.98 Written by Navy SEALs, this book will be a wake up call for any leader. If you apply the message of the book, it won’t just change your professional life, but every other relationship. I had my entire real estate company read this book last year, and it profoundly impacted all of us (hence it gets the #1 spot).

  2. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown: $16.80 Do I even need to say more? She is an expert guide in understanding what true strength looks like and the way appropriate vulnerability can foster incredible success in business.

  3. Let It Go: My Extraordinary Story by Dame Stephanie Shirley: $13.36 This is my favorite memoir of a female leader, ever. So much wisdom packed in her life story. Stephanie Shirley was a pioneer in woman owned and run business, as well as working from home, way before it was trendy. She also was a caregiver/mom to a son with Autism when resources and support were limited. Be ready to be inspired by her life, marriage, motherhood journey, and role as a business pioneer.

  4. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek: $11.74 This well-researched work about servant leadership principles is timeless. We all need to develop servant leadership skills as leaders.

  5. Tribes by Seth Godin: $13.06 Seth Godin penned this short call to action that is packed with practical takeaways that will inspire you. We read it in our Inspiration Lab Study Hall program this May and even after reading it 10 times, I still love this classic call to action.

  6. High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard: $18.35 (or free on the Brendon Show Podcast back episodes—Part I starts in April of 2018) His idea of “build your own curriculum” is excellent and so important for leaders. I also had my whole company read this book as well. And I am currently building my own curriculum through The Inspiration Lab. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, build it yourself or to say it another way...create the things you wish existed.

  7. Crucial Conversations, Tools for Talking When the Stakes of High: $11.07 Part of leading is having difficult conversations—often with difficult people. This is a classic that might change your life.

  8. Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud: $9.70 In addition to having crucial conversations, we all need to learn when and how to draw a line. This book is applicable to all facets of life and a must read for leaders, especially new leaders.

  9. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Do by Amy Morin: $12.54 As I mentioned in my Leadership Essentials, I think one of the most important traits of an exceptional leader is to be emotionally healthy and strong. This book identifies the traits of a resilient person and how to create those traits in our lives.

  10. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves: $7.79 EQ is now proven to be much more important than IQ for leaders. Retention and recruitment for talented employees hinges on the ability of the leader to be emotionally generous with their team and maintain healthy boundaries. This book is step one on the emotional intelligence path. The Inspiration Lab™ plans to explore emotional intelligence for an entire month in 2020 so stay tuned if you are interested in this topic.

Podcasts (They are FREE! YAY!)

  1. Entreleadership offers leadership resources for business owners and leaders. They offer a free newsletter, blog, and podcast.

  2. The Storybrand podcast, brain child of Donald Miller, is not always about leadership, but covers topics I find helpful. Recent topics include leadership, empathy, and scaling.

  3. Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder. Since this covers businesses that scale and survive, there are significant leadership principles embedded in virtually every episode. Plus, I have a little nerd crush on Reid Hoffman—he is just so wise and insightful.

  4. Work Party is an extension of Jaclyn Johnson’s book by the same name. Work Party covers all aspects of modern working womanhood.

Whitepapers (Also FREE—YAY!)

Just in case you’re not familiar with a white paper: it’s a write up—more formal than a blog, newsletter, or casual article—that covers what the person, business, or institution thinks about a complex issue. Basically, these aren’t articles titled, “The Three Best Self-Care Routines You Haven’t Tried.” These are articles that dig into analysis, evidence, and context on issues that matter. And because they’re often part position statement, you can often find them for free.

  • Everyone has to start somewhere. You don’t go from starter employee to office leader without a few stops in the middle.The Center for Creative Leadership has this white paper on the most important skill for a mid level leaders: maintaining equilibrium under pressure.

  • Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning nails it with this assessment on demands faced by leaders and learners, “They face more business complexity, more demands on their time, and more information competing for their attention.” This white paper delves into those demands and strategies for engaging and inspiring employees. A must-read for anyone who is a boss or hopes to be a boss.

Videos (More FREE resources! Yay!)

  • On this episode of Marie TV, Marie Forleo interviews Simon Sinek on leadership. This episode is packed with takeaways and inspiration. One thing I keep coming back to: Sinek didn’t launch down the path of authorship and leadership as an intellectual exercise, he had to address his own burnout and figure out how to keep coming back with passion and excellence.

  • Marie Forleo brings all the knowledge during this Q&A Tuesday episode of Marie TV. She opens up about her secret weapon for leading a team. Hint: It’s not what you think, but it makes SO much sense.

So, where does this leave you?

This list has so many resources. And let’s be real, you can’t implement all the ideas at once. So, I’m challenging you to pick one book and one podcast/white page/video, and commit, this month, to implementing what you learn. And, I want to hear about it. So, email me with what you picked and how you applied it (


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