What are the 3 Books that Every Leader Should Have on Their Shelf?

In the ever-evolving landscape of leadership, a curated collection of domain-specific literature can serve as a guiding compass. In this post, we delve deep into the ALTA bookshelves, uncovering the wisdom of three must-have books that every leader should consider adding to their collection.

“The Teacher Gap” by Becky Allen and Sam Sims

Allen and Sims masterfully navigate the intricate realm of education in “The Teacher Gap.” Their extensive experience in the field, coupled with rigorous research, provides leaders with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by education systems and all who dwell within. Central threads explore and develop: 

  • the reader’s awareness of the importance of attracting, developing, and retaining quality teachers, 
  • the factors that influence teachers’ motivation, performance, and well-being, such as autonomy, feedback, recognition, and support, 
  • and how we might best develop our respective education systems and avoid unnecessary but frequent waste with regard to the use of professional development budgets. 

Six years on, this book remains essential reading for all Head Teachers and those with oversight of school or organisational improvement.

“Learning to Improve” by Anthony Bryck

Bryck’s “Learning to Improve” stands out for its groundbreaking exploration of improvement science in education. The book provides a robust framework for leaders seeking to enhance organisational effectiveness through continuous learning and adaptation. Bryck’s approach: 

  • is grounded in evidence-based strategies, 
  • empowers leaders to navigate complex problems systematically, 
  • and uses narrative techniques to take real-life examples from the world of business to bring the principles to life.

The book’s strength lies in its ability to bridge theory with practical implementation, making it a valuable resource for leaders committed to driving sustainable improvement.

“Leadership” by Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson’s “Leadership” takes us beyond school corridors, offering a captivating insight into the mind of, arguably, one of the greatest leaders in sports history. The book’s strength lies in its blend of personal anecdotes and leadership principles derived from Ferguson’s illustrious career. It provides a unique perspective on: 

  • team dynamics, 
  • resilience, 
  • and adaptability. 

Leaders from any field can draw inspiration from Ferguson’s managerial prowess and his ability to navigate frequent challenges. However, the book’s sports-centric focus, and autobiographical nature may limit its immediate relevance to leaders outside the realm of athletics and distort the reliability of some of the points being made. 

In the pursuit of leadership excellence, these three books offer a rich tapestry of insights. “The Teacher Gap,” “Learning to Improve,” and “Leadership” each bring unique strengths to the table, complementing one another to provide a well-rounded guide for school leaders. By embracing the wisdom within these pages, leaders can embark on a transformative journey towards mastering the art and science of effective leadership.

Partner with ALTA

Are you thinking about your school improvement plans for 2024/25? Do you want to join a network of schools that share best practices, resources, and opportunities? If so, you might be interested in partnering with us!

At ALTA, we provide tailored support and guidance to schools across the globe. We help schools achieve their goals, overcome their challenges, and provide the highest-quality education for the pupils in their care. Working with schools and organisations of all types and sizes, we offer a range of services, such as coaching, training, mentoring, curriculum development, and more.

We are currently finalising our calendar of support for the next academic year, and we have a few spots left for new partner schools. Contact us today to find out more about our partnership programmes and how we can help your school/organisation thrive. Don鈥檛 miss this chance to make a positive, meaningful and sustained difference for your school, your teachers and your students. We look forward to hearing from you soon!



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