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Public Health Leadership Book Recommendations?
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8/27/2018 at 7:52:07 PM GMT
Posts: 16
Public Health Leadership Book Recommendations?

During my interactions with ISDS members, I've heard the request for more managerial and project management types of trainings. Much of this business management training is often lacking in our public health education, but many of you have shared great resources and ideas with me, so I think we should share these insights with the surveillance community. As you've grown in your public health careers, what books/resources would you recommend for your colleagues? What books inspired you? Helped you get organized? Taught you how to manage other people?

Here is my list:

Good to Great by Jim Collins (teaches the importance of getting the right people on the "bus")

How to Be Happy at Work: The Power of Purpose, Hope, and Friendship by Annie McKee (discusses how people need three essential elements to be happy at work and how productiveness follows happiness)

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. (This book is especially helpful in thinking about how important documentation is.)



Last edited Thursday, September 20, 2018
8/28/2018 at 12:19:21 PM GMT
Posts: 13
These books have been very important to me.

"Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton
• This book somewhat opened my eyes about how working with your strengths. The book made it clear that people are most successful when using their strengths and when they minimize the impact of their weaknesses enough to ensure that they don't get in the way. A survey is included to identify your top 5 strengths and being able to see them gave me a lot of self-confidence in the abilities I had and that I should focus on using.

"Difficult Conversations" by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Patton
• I would make this required reading for everyone as I think we all need help in conflict management at some point in our careers. It is one of the most important books I've ever read. It shows how important discussions (that can become tense if they are not properly managed) follow a certain pattern. The importance of language and framing of the perceived problem(s) is discussed thoroughly and the book does a great job training you to explore what the root of the problem is and to get it solved as diplomatically as possible by paying careful attention to the language you and the other person use.

"Why Should Anyone Be Led By You?" by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones
• Describes, using case studies, what followers need of their leaders: authenticity, significance, excitement, and community.

"If We Can Put a Man On the Moon (Getting Big Things Done in Government)" by William Eggers and John O'Leary
• This is basically a public administration book, however, it applies to anyone working on big projects in government (such as information system transitions). The book analyzes real-life case studies to show how large projects that have received a lot of media attention failed because they did not do due diligence, or simply skipped, to one of the key stages of a project life-cycle: Idea, Design, Approvals Stage, Implementation, Results (with occasional Reevaluation at every step to account for changes). The book convincingly shows how all these stages need to be done diligently or else you risk a catastrophic failure of a project all for the sake of needing to meet (an inadequate) timeline.

"Integrity: The Courage To Meet The Demands of Reality" by Henry Cloud
• This is a great book that helps in developing self-awareness. It argues that despite being competent in your field and having the ability to network well with others, many people still fail because they lack 5 key components of integrity: ability to connect with others and build trust, orientation toward reality, finish well, embrace the negative, orientation toward increase, understanding of the transcendent.The book is fun to read and has many examples of people/companies who were very successful in business but failed eventually because they lacked of the components of integrity.


1/3/2019 at 8:27:58 PM GMT
Posts: 1

Like Shandy, I found "Good to Great" and "The Checklist Manifesto" to help me a lot in thinking about management.  "Good to Great" had a fair number of useful concepts. "The Checklist Manifesto" increased my focus on simplifying processes and workflows. It also got me to trim down the amount of somewhat extraneous or specialized information I expected folks under my direction to learn or understand, so they can be more focused with their time and brainpower.

I also got a lot out of "Crucial Conversations" (Patterson K, Grenny J, McMillan R, Switzler A, Covey SR. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. 1st ed. McGraw-Hill; 2002). I've had several colleagues for whom it was a life-saver, helping them deal with difficult bosses or coworkers, and turning very unpleasant positions into decent jobs.

I've got a lot from "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". I often think about the "urgent" vs. "important" grid from that book, as I set priorities.

Finally, learning about "situational leadership" has helped me a lot. I don't know if there is a book about it, but it is laid out on this website: https://online.stu.edu/articles/education/what-is-situational-leadership.aspx . It pushed me to be more flexible in my management, adapting it to the person in front of me, instead of using a similar management style for everyone.



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