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5 books every Social Care leader should read this Christmas

It's cold outside, you're full of food and you've made your way through all the good Christmas films. Ideal conditions for curling up with a good book. Here are five of our favourites on the theme of leadership.

1) Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together & Others Don’t

Author: Simon Sinek

Length: 368 pages

Amazon link

Best known for Start With Why, Sinek's follow-up goes a level deeper to address some of the key 'whys' of leadership. Why do we trust the people we trust? And why should they trust us? 

Based on a quote from a Marine Corps general: "Officers Eat Last", Sinek provides his own take on the concept of servant leadership, starting with the hidden dynamics that inspire leadership and trust. 

In short - it's about emotional safety. Using practical, real-life examples, this book will help you understand how to create a "circle of safety" within your teams that gets the best out of them and out of you as a leader.

2) Radical Candor

Author: Kim Scott

Length: 269 pages

Amazon link

"Care personally while challenging directly". That's Scott's definition of Radical Candor. Her book addresses one of the biggest workplace problems - creating a culture which embraces honest feedback.

Scott's argument is that we often end up either:

  • holding back on feedback that would help an individual, the organisation, or both for fear of hurting feelings; or
  • delivering honest feedback, but in a way that harms interpersonal relationships

This doesn't just apply to constructive criticism, it's about praise too - something that came up in our most recent research for our Appreciation Matters report. The most common reason preventing care employees from recognising their colleagues more often was that it makes them feel awkward.

Radical Candor is her answer. This book doesn't just provide a framework for delivering feedback, it's full of ideas and practices to get, give and encourage guidance, praise and criticism at work.

PS Just want the highlights? Scott dissects Radical Candor in 6 minutes here

shiromani-kant-mo3FOTG62ao-unsplash3) Surrounded By Idiots

Author: Thomas Erikson

Length: 304 pages

Amazon link

Ignore the attention-grabbing title, this is a book about a fundamental leadership quality - effective communication.

Erikson, an expert in behavioural psychology, believes that better workplace communication requires a better understanding of our differing personalities. He sets out four distinct behavioural styles - Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness (DISC), of which one or two tend to be dominant.

Injected with a fun sense of humour that makes it an enjoyable read, Surrounded By Idiots sets out how to assess our colleagues' personalities so that we can adapt our communication style to get the best results out of ourselves and others. 

Curious about your own personality traits? Take the DISC questionnaire!

4) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Author: Daniel Pink

Length: 256 pages

Amazon link

Is there more to motivation than the carrot and the stick? According to Daniel Pink, the answer is yes - a lot. He argues that there are more powerful drivers of high performance:

  1. Autonomy - the desire to direct our own lives
  2. Mastery - the urge to get better and better at something that matters
  3. Purpose - the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

Drive explores the science behind human motivation and its practical application in producing happier, more productive workforces. What makes this book stand out is its modern perspective - it was first published in 2018.

This is recommended reading for those looking for new ways to inspire their teams and do better work.

drew-coffman-UIlHiyFy0Wk-unsplash5) Saving Social Care

Author: Neil Eastwood

Length: 232 pages

Amazon link

This list wouldn't be complete without Neil's must-read assessment of the future needs of the UK's Social Care system.

Finding and keeping great people is at the heart of it. Saving Social Care has been written to be your desk-side 'companion', a point of reference you go back to again and again.

Neil provides practical advice to care employers on who to look for when hiring and where to find and screen them. He also lists 20 great retention strategies to ensure they stay with you for the long term.

Looking for more inspiration?

We're constantly adding to our library of resources written specifically for Social Care professionals. Browse through all of our publications here.