10 Must-Read Books about IT Leadership – Part 1

We have listed 10 books you should not miss out on. Even though they might not be all specifically IT-themed, they still contain valuable info and pragmatic advice on how to excel as a leader in any field.


1.  Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader – by Herminia Ibarra


This book is excellent at explaining how leadership should be aimed at being a north star for your team and how it’s unrelated to your personal life goals. It is imperative to know how you can stimulate your team to perform at their peak and this book will guide you in developing this unique leadership style.

The author of the book explains that nowadays “just” being a professional is not sufficient when it comes to generating key insights and making sound decisions. It’s those that are able to think strategically and are willing to share their insights and getting buy-in from stakeholders on all levels that thrive.


2. Work rules! – by Laszlo Bock


It’s not unsurprising that this book has such an enthusiastic ring to it. After all, it’s written by former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google!

From years of experience working at the beloved search engine, Laszlo shares why power is no longer a matter in leadership. It’s about being a leader who is capable of influencing, mentoring and supporting a team of individuals who might even be better at decision-making than yourself.

He strongly suggests that a good leader invests in those who show enthusiasm, eagerness, and a strong willpower to learn new things. He argues that a specialist might do a great job for a particular project, but an employee that can be successful across different parts of the organisation will deliver more value in the long run.

This book is filled with actionable wisdom and is a sure-fire way to improve or become a leader with the unique skills each team needs.


3. Data-ism – by Steve Lohr


It is insane how data in the last decade has influenced and impacted on our decision-making. This is particularly true for IT. It is transforming IT operations as well as our approach on how to solve certain issues.

The key insights Lohr shares with us on how the explosion of data affects decisions within large organisations are invaluable if you aspire to become an IT leader.

He mentions that despite the importance of data science and the tools to handle data, the real mission is to make your people confident about data. Data should be the starting point of every question i.e. what story has the data to tell?

The book helps you to get an understanding of why intuition is valuable yet less reliable than data. After all, what proof do we really have about the effectiveness of a decision we make based on gut feel? Data, however, won’t lie. It’s robust, indisputable, and reliable.


4. The Simplicity Cycle – by Dan Ward


You’re probably familiar with being so caught up in the process of getting the work done that you forgot what the end-goal of the project actually is.

Ward explains in a very understandable way how leaders can better manage complexity by communicating the goal of projects in a more graspable way. In his book, he tells us why it is important to understand the complexity and when and how it becomes a destructive phenomenon in terms of productivity and effectiveness.

The book’s ultimate goal is to educate and help you to understand how you can stand out as a leader in the midst of complexity before everything runs its own course. A must-read for those that are or want to become a leader in fast-paced, and often hectic, work environments.


5. CIO As Chameleon – by Martha Heller


What we love the most about this book is that the author interviewed dozens of CIO’s about something she calls the “CIO Paradox”. She explains that one of the main responsibilities of CIO’s is to keep costs down whilst driving innovation for which better technology is of the essence. They are focused on the future but are often restricted by old technology without having the approval to invest in new tech that will move the company forward.

She offers advice on how CIO’s can be better equipped to “attack”, reverse, and/or neutralise some of the elements that create this paradox.

The term Chameleon alludes to the fact that as IT changes from business process creation to business model innovation so must you. You will have to change to the “colour” that is prescribed by the context in the future. It’s about reinventing your skills set in the long term that enables you to shift from support the current business model to a more innovative one.