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Higher Learning – People First Edition

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Ready to build a strong team that has limitless potential? Interested in cultivating stronger interpersonal connections or challenging your mindset on goals? How about finally getting a handle on stress and rest so that you can lead with a healthy mind and body?

We’ve covered all these bases and more in this edition of recommended reading and listening. Remember: “people first” includes “you” too. Give yourself permission to dive into these recommendations and enjoy the rewards of your personal growth.

The Ideal Team Player cover

The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni

Humble. Hungry. Smart. At the intersection of these three qualities stands the ideal team player, according to leadership expert Patrick Lencioni. He considers the qualities as “virtues” that can be cultivated in employees who demonstrate willingness to be part of a team. On the flip side, Lencioni also discusses dangerous behaviors that can crush teamwork—and what to do if those behaviors are revealed in your people. Whether you’re hiring new workers or sharpening the skills of your current team, this book is the tool you didn’t know you needed.

Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues by David Bradford and Carole Robin

Soft skills are the hardest work, say Stanford professors David Bradford and Carole Robin, who co-teach an MBA course called Interpersonal Dynamics. Why? Because your own experiences serve as the laboratory. Exceptional relationships may not result from every connection, but they also don’t happen without practice—and intentionality. Whether you are looking to deepen friendships, ask hard questions, strike up new conversations, or face conflict, Bradford’s and Robin’s proven communication tools and exercises can help you better connect.

Connect book cover
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Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. and Amelia Nagoski, D.M.A.

If you’ve never heard of the “stress cycle” you are not alone. But everyone goes through it, according to the Nagoski sisters. Women in particular—who, because of their never-ending household responsibilities, career demands, and societal expectations, are often exhausted and overwhelmed—need to understand how to mitigate it. To complete the cycle healthfully, women must process stress in a productive way, through physical, social, and emotional means. Through scientific research, examples, advice, stories, and worksheets, the authors show readers that “wellness is not a state of being; it’s a state of action.” Don’t let the title fool you: this book is not just about recovering from burnout–it’s about preventing it.

Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being by Shawn Achor

Known for his research on happiness, positive psychology speaker and author Shawn Achor goes a step further in this heavily-researched yet fascinating read on how people pursue and achieve success. Achor shares why the “big potential” we can achieve together is so much more effective than the “small potential” we can achieve individually. He explains five proven strategies for reaching big potential—all concepts you can teach to your team and your students. The result? Each person learns that they can shine brighter when they are a part of a constellation, not when they’re a single star.

Big Potential book cover
Illogical book cover

Illogical: Saying Yes to a Life Without Limits by Emmanuel Acho

Goals are a thing of the past, according to ex-NFL player, motivational speaker, social media phenom, and author Emmanuel Acho. Instead of a goal, he says, set an objective: a place you can reach for with no limitations—or at least, only the limitations you’re willing to accept. In his perspective, logic-based thinking can actually stymie growth by adding too many parameters and expectations. Don’t just live for the finish line, Acho advises, because you might miss other opportunities and possible paths to success. So, studio owners, if you’re looking for an uplifting read that affirms your big ideas and encourages you to innovate, this book will hit the mark.

Leading the Next Generation with Tim Elmore

This podcast, hosted by Growing Leaders founder Dr. Tim Elmore and vice president of content Andrew McPeak, offers practical advice for teaching and coaching young people to become confident, conscientious leaders. With its focus on mentorship, Growing Leaders helps adults connect the dots on how Gen Z-ers think (and why they think that way). The next time you say “What can I do to help my teen dancers become mentally healthier and more resilient?” turn to this podcast for a new perspective on what they need. Dr. Elmore is a master at using stories to illustrate the paradoxes of Gen Z life, helping us understand their challenges and lean into their strengths.

Leading the next generation

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