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Continuing to sharpen your leadership skills is a useful tool for any community recreation professional. To add to your bag of skills, and possibly your beach bag this summer, consider these leadership book recommendations from professionals in the industry:

Recommended by Holly Metzger-Brown, the youth fitness director at the York JCC:

“Mastery,” by Robert Greene

Throughout his books the author focuses on deliberate practice to master your craft while finding mentors to speed up your learning process, and provides various methods to harness your skills so you can be at your top performance.

“The Power of Consistency,” by Welson Long

The author highlights to be successful and to create habits, one must be consistent every day, participating in small tasks that will lead to massive results.

“Bringing out the Best in People,” by Aubrey Daniels

The author mentions observing people’s behaviors to understand why things are happening or why they are not happening to optimize desirable behaviors. The author also highlights the importance of direct supervisor or peer feedback to employees to enhance learning and efficiency.

Recommended by Stephanie Dworkin, the marketing director at the Katz JCC:

“Lessons in Leadership,” by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

It’s a really neat concept. It marries the idea of the weekly Torah portion and the qualities (or lack thereof) of the people in that portion.

Recommended by Carl Funnell, the director of aquatics and financial development at the YMCA of Snohomish County, Mukilteo Family Branch:

“Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni

Throughout the short narrative they break down a few essential components of an effective team, giving great ideas for team building and course correction.

Recommended by Ryan Ochoa, the Aquatics Program Manager at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center:

“The One Minute Manager,” by Ken Blanchard, PhD, and Spencer Johnson, MD

This is a great introduction to management/leadership, and I have all my leads and assistant managers read this book when they step into the role. It’s a quick, simple read and breaks down the concepts of how to listen to, encourage and grow staff in an easy-to-digest way.

“What Do You Do With an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada

This book reminds me that, given appropriate time, encouragement and attention, any idea (whether it’s from a member, staff, lead, peer, etc.) can grow into something unexpected, wonderful and beneficial, and that we, as managers, should embrace the ideas given to us — even if some need a bit more time to ‘incubate.’

Recommended by Elsie Bennett, the fitness and wellness director at the Alpert JCC, Long Beach:

“The Wisdom of Sundays,” by Oprah Winfrey

Most professionals live such hectic lives that it can get easy for them to forget to take care of themselves – to slow down and to be in the moment. This is my favorite book to reach for no matter how hectic my schedule is. The short stories are conversations with some amazing and inspiring people. It reminds me to always be in the moment because we only get one life to live.

Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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