Take a deep breathe – it’s almost December. With all of the festivities and merry-making this time of year, it can be easy to rush around and not take time to think about your 2018 goals and plans until the very last minute.

So let’s slow it down, take a step back from the chaos. Hopefully you will find time for a winter lull, a time of reflection. Maybe you already know exactly what you want to focus on and accomplish in 2018; maybe you need some inspiration. Or perhaps you want to help a team member find their inspiration.

A good book can be a tremendously inspirational tool, if you pick the right one. Here are some of my top recommendations to gift this holiday season, either to yourself or someone you know – make sure to plan time to read, reflect, and start setting those goals.

First up, my most popular book list:  My 7 Favorite Books for a Leadership Book Study

These books can be read on your own as well, but book study groups are an easy way to get leaders at all levels of your organization connecting and learning together. You could choose a book, gift a copy to all of your leaders to read on their own over the holidays, then read and study together in the new year…there are tips for how to run the book study there as well.

One attribute that is particularly important for People-Centered Leaders, but doesn’t get nearly enough attention, is empathy.

The standard definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is also a noun, which means it is a thing we possess. The only thing I would add is that true empathy for a leader is to understand and USE in a relational setting; reading and analyzing people from afar is not empathy because it only gets created when we build a relationship through conversation.

To help you get started in building and practicing empathy in the new year, here are: My 6 Favorite Books For Building Empathy

Sometimes we need to take a break from the world of ‘business books’ and get back to basics. It’s amazing how much you can learn without even trying!

Here are four children’s books that teach important entrepreneurial lessons, which adults can benefit from equally as much as children.

And finally, earlier this year I was asked to define People-Centered Leadership. This question came on the heels of delivering a leadership development program I designed and deliver once a year. The first task I give them is to finish the sentence, ‘Leadership is . . .’

These are the 7 books that came to mind as having shaped my thinking on leading in all areas of my life: My leadership 7

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