My First Advice Column

my first advice column (1)
 I’ve always wanted to secretly be an advice columnist so I was thrilled when I got this email:
“This is NOT urgent, but it is a compliment … Given that you read and listen to everything, (ed note: not everything but I do try to stay up-to-date) I wanted to kindly, graciously request Dr. Jo’s Recommended Top 5 Book (or articles) and Top 5 Podcasts … don’t feel compelled to keep it to 5.
I accepted the compliment but I did feel compelled to keep it to 5.
So here it is…
Dr. Jo’s Top 5 Recommended Reads 

Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg. If you’ve been reading my newsletters for a while, you might have already seen this recommended but I just can’t recommend it enough. So much juiciness about teams, learning, and productivity and a really fun read as well. I learned a lot about how to make decisions and look at data in new ways to really visualize what’s going on. I use a lot of the concepts of this book in leading my own company, Incite To Leadership.

Your Brain At Work by David Rock. I love how this book breaks down both the neuroscience behind what’s really going on in leadership interactions and communications in a way that’s both engaging and memorable. I use a lot of the concepts in this book when working with my clients and explaining what might be going on for them, as well as others that they work with. (He also has a great article on his SCARF model of how people react to organizational change and how to manage that more effectively by paying attention to the neuroscience behind change.)
5 Dysfunctions of A Team by Patrick Lencioni. This is super readable and very enjoyable, yet really gives a lot of insights into what makes, and breaks teams. It explains a lot of the dynamics behind all those “tips” articles you can read about how to create an effective team. I think the book captures the basics really well so that you can start to see how these dysfunctions are seeping into your own teams. It’s the team model I come back to again and again. People not only understand it logically, but intuitively it fits with what you’ve already noticed at work.
Changing On The Job by Jennifer Garvey Berger. This is a cutting edge look at what we know about how adults develop and what that means for how they work with others and lead at work. I’m fascinated by the science of adult development and this is one of the most readable books I’ve found about what this developing science means in the world of work and leadership development. It’s also a great way to challenge yourself to think about
YOUR own development as well as that of those that work around you/report to you.
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Oldie but goodie. I use this one with my executive MBA class because I think it’s one of the best primers on how to how to have a difficult conversations, how to listen for others trying to have them with you, and how to hear beyond what you usually listen for – which for most of us is “who’s right, who’s wrong and how do we fix it?” There’s so much wisdom here that even remembering 1/10th of it will hold you in good stead.
My Top 5 Articles:
I have a bunch of articles on Dropbox that are a mix of classics and really good foundational leadership articles. These are the articles I’ve shared with my exec MBA students.
If you’d like access to these, just comment below and let me know and I’ll share it with you.
My Top 5 Podcasts:
Ok sad truth. I don’t listen to many honestly. I’m too busy reading or listening to books.
I do love the Hidden Brain podcast and my new guilty pleasure is Esther Perel’s new audible original podcast Where Should We Begin which listens in to live couples therapy sessions.
Clearly I need more podcast recommendations, can you help?
Please comment below and let me know which podcasts you like (and maybe one sentence why…)
So there you have it, my first attempt at an advice column. If you have other interesting questions to ask me – I’m happy to answer them here too! I look forward to hearing from you.

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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