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Best HR Books on Managing People in 2021

We have curated the best HR books for leaders whose success depends upon the people they manage. From hiring and firing to conflict management to prioritization, these books give you the tools needed to successfully manage a team and drive results.

16 Must-Read Books to make you a better People Manager

Whether you're new manager, a veteran leader, or looking to be promoted to your boss' position, these hand-picked recommendations of books should definitely be part of your reading list.

Note: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases resulting from the 'Buy the Book' links in this article.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

- Adam Grant

At work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. Using his own pioneering research as Wharton's youngest tenured professor, Adam Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success.

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High Output Management

High Output Management

- Andrew S. Grove

In High Output Management, Andrew S. Grove, former chairman and CEO of Intel, shares his perspective on how to build and run a company. Grove covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, demonstrating methods of motivation that lead to peak performance—throughout, High Output Management is a practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios and a powerful management manifesto with the ability to revolutionize the way we work.

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Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

- Brené Brown

Over 7 years of research, Brené Brown discovered that leaders in organisations ranging from small start-ups and family-owned businesses to non-profits, civic organisations and Fortune 50 companies, are asking the same questions: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders? And, how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? Dare to Lead answers these questions and gives us actionable strategies and real examples from her new research-based, courage-building programme.

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First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

- Gallup Press

Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its revolutionary study of more than 80,000 managers in First, Break All the Rules, revealing what the world’s greatest managers do differently. With vital performance and career lessons and ideas for how to apply them, it is a must-read for managers at every level.

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It's the Manager: Moving From Boss to Coach

It's the Manager: Moving From Boss to Coach

- Jim Clifton, Jim Harter

Packed with 52 discoveries from Gallup’s largest study on the future of work, It’s the Manager shows leaders how to adapt their organizations to rapid change, ranging from new workplace demands to managing remote employees, a diverse workforce, the rise of artificial intelligence, gig workers, and attracting – and keeping – today’s best employees.

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Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

- John Doerr

In 1999, John Doerr invested nearly $12 million in a startup that had amazing technology and entrepreneurial energy, but no real business plan. Doerr introduced the founders to OKRs, and with OKRs at its foundation, the management grew the startup from forty to 70,000 employees and a market cap exceeding $600 billion. The startup was Google. Measure What Matters is about using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a revolutionary approach to goal-setting, to make tough choices in business.

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The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

- Julie Zhuo

Congratulations, you're a manager! After you pop the champagne, accept the shiny new title, and step into this thrilling next chapter of your career, the truth descends like a fog: you don't really know what you're doing. The Making of a Manager is here to help you. It's a modern field guide packed with everyday examples and transformative insights that will help you be the kind of manager you wish you had.

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The New One Minute Manager

The New One Minute Manager

- Ken Blanchard, Spencer Johnson

For decades, The One Minute Manager has helped millions achieve more successful professional and personal lives. Now, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson have written The New One Minute Manager to introduce the book’s powerful, important lessons to a new generation. In their concise, easy-to-read story, they teach readers three very practical secrets about leading others — and explain why these techniques continue to work so well.

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Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

- Kim Malone Scott

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management - and is written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, the book gives actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.

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Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

- Liz Wiseman

This book explores why some leaders drain capability and intelligence from their teams while others amplify it to produce better results. When leaders of the latter variety walk into a room, light bulbs go off over people’s heads; ideas flow and problems get solved. These leaders, referred to as Multipliers, inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. Multipliers will show how you too can harness all the energy and intelligence around you.

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The First-Time Manager

The First-Time Manager

- Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick, Gary S. Topchik

The jump from star employee to new manager is bigger than most people realize—with opportunities to fail at every step. Stumbling your way through isn’t an option. Learn to conquer every challenge like a pro with the clear, candid advice in The First Time Manager. For nearly four decades, this trusted guide has brought newcomers up to speed on the nitty gritty realities of managing people.

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The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

- Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier distills the essentials of coaching to seven core questions. And if you master his simple yet profound technique, you'll get a two-fer. You'll provide more effective support to your employeesand co-workers. And you may find that you become the ultimate coach for yourself.

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101 Tough Conversations to Have With Employees

101 Tough Conversations to Have With Employees

- Paul Falcone

Inappropriate workplace conduct, lateness, sexually offensive behavior, productivity and communication issues... these are just a few of the uncomfortable topics bosses must sometimes discuss with their employees. 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees offers realistic sample dialogues managers can use to facilitate clear, direct interactions with their employees, helping to sidestep potential awkwardness and meet issues head-on.

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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

- Simon Sinek

In studying the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way-and it's the complete opposite of what everyone else does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why. Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire.

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Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

- Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek's second book is the natural extension of Start with Why, expanding his ideas at the organizational level. Determining a company’s WHY is crucial, but only the beginning. The next step is how do you get people on board with your WHY? How do you inspire deep trust and commitment to the company and one another? Drawing on powerful and inspiring stories, Sinek shows how to sustain an organization’s WHY while continually adding people to the mix.

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Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

- Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen

A management parable that draws its lesson from an unlikely source - the fun-loving fishmongers at Seattle's Pike Place Market. In Fish!, the heroine, Mary Jane, is asked to engineer a turnaround of her company's troubled operations department. Fish! aims to help employees find their way to a fun and happy workplace. While some may find the story line and prescriptions downright corny, others will find a good dose of motivational management techniques.

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