By Ms. Kelly Morris (U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence)September 24, 2018
If you're looking for a few good reads about leadership for professional development but don't know where to start, the Aviation Branch Command Sergeant Major just made that task easier.
The "Top 10" list of recommended book titles from Command Sgt. Maj. Brian N. Hauke's personal library is available on the USAACE and Fort Rucker website with the click of a button at the link http://www.rucker.army.mil/biographies/bio_csm.html.
The books range from approximately 30 pages to over 400 pages in length, and include fun reads, historical and sports analogies that are his personal top picks to help professionally develop leaders at all levels, and may also benefit aspiring leaders.
"If you're a leader out there, a platoon sergeant, a first sergeant, or a command sergeant major in Army Aviation, this could be a tool for you to use. And not only for noncommissioned officers but for our warrant officers and officers as well. It's great professional development for all," Hauke said. "I think there's a responsibility I have to at least provide some opportunities and titles."
According to Hauke, a good leader is an educated leader, and part of that requires self-development.
"In our world today reading is a perishable skill. We're glued to our devices and a television set, and I'm as much at fault as anybody else," Hauke said. "This really revolves around being educated as a leader… and you can't get that all from social media, the news and television. There are resources--i.e. books--that should be looked at if you have the opportunity, to educate yourself to be a better leader."
The goal is to give leaders a starting point for discussion about leadership and mentorship of Soldiers.
"I hope I'm giving our leaders at all levels an opportunity to have a few books on leadership narrowed down to the point where if the Branch Sergeant Major feels these are important titles from authors, you can rest assured if you pick one of these up you'll probably gain something from it."
1. The Three Meter Zone - Common Sense Leadership for NCOs, by J.D. Pendry
2. A Message to Garcia, by Elbert Hubbard
3. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't, by Simon Sinek
4. The Lombardi Rules: 26 Lessons from Vince Lombardi--the World's Greatest Coach, by Vince Lombardi Jr.
5. Legacy: 15 Lessons in Leadership, by James Kerr
6. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
7. Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times, by Donald T. Phillips
8. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute
9. Getting to Yes: How to Negotiate Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton
10. Guardians of the Republic - A History of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps of the U.S. Army, by Ernest F. Fisher, Jr.
"These are a pretty good group of books to start with and can be found anywhere," Hauke said.
According to Hauke, the books include ideas on how to build a team, how to interact with individuals and subordinates, getting members of the team to accomplish a mission, and lifelong lessons as a leader.
One of the areas Hauke emphasized reading about is the history of the U.S. Army.
"I think we're doing a better job in our NCO professional development system in talking about history and how we've gotten after some of that, but it never hurts to read about the past and how our corps has morphed over the years," Hauke said.
A major benefit from professional reading is the opportunity for self-reflection, according to Hauke.
"I've leaned on the reading from time to time to give me the ability to reflect internally at how I'm doing. So if there's something that I've taken away from it is the ability to self-reflect on who I am and how I am as a leader," Hauke said.
According to Hauke, developing a unit library where leaders can check out resources to read and discuss the content and viewpoints together can be a valuable professional development tool. Just as an author's thoughts may not always line up exactly with the reader's, what a leader thinks may not always be in line with subordinates' viewpoints or perceptions.
"That discussion alone is going to be important in how we develop our noncommissioned officers across our branch," he said.
Hauke said he hopes the list will make it easier on leaders to have that discussion, and be beneficial to them.
"I'm not naïve enough to think everybody's going to pick this up and read all ten books," Hauke said. "But I hope that at some point in time if you're an Aviation noncommissioned officer you at least see the list and maybe it's something that you decide--hey, this is an important deal, let me take a look at one of these and see if I can take anything away from any one of these books."
*The appearance of a title on this reading list does not imply endorsement of the author's views or interpretations. Nevertheless, these books contain thought-provoking ideas and viewpoints relevant to our Army.