Best Police Leadership Books

10 min read
Police Leadership Books

The countless responsibilities of leading a law enforcement agency or police department do not leave a ton of extra time to crack open a book. But as successful executives across all industries will tell you, there is a proven connection between reading and leading.

In addition to keeping up on the latest trends or discovering new perspectives on police work, reading can serve as an excellent stress reliever or even a source of inspiration.

Police Management and Leadership Books

Leadership for 21st Century - Police Leadership Book

Leadership for the Twenty-First Century

Author: Joseph C. Rost

Description: This illuminating study critiques the concept of leadership as understood in the last 75 years and looks to the 21st century for a reconstructed understanding of leadership in the post-industrial era. The book concludes with actionable leadership suggestions.




The Mission, The Men, and Me - Police Leadership Book

The Mission, the Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander

Author: Pete Blaber

Description: As a commander of Delta Force — the world’s most elite counter-terrorist organization — Pete Blaber took part in some of the most dangerous, controversial and significant military and political events of our time. In this book, he shares lessons learned from his experience.




It's Your Ship - Police Leadership Book

It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Author: Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

Description: When Capt. Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity. Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship.




Leadership and Self-Deception - Police Leadership Book

Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box

Author: The Arbinger Institute

Description: Since its original publication in 2000, “Leadership and Self-Deception” has become a worldwide, word-of-mouth phenomenon. This latest edition draws on correspondence the authors have received from readers who have used its principles to improve their leadership skills.




It Worked for Me - Colin Powell - Police Leadership Book

It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership

Author: Gen. Colin Powell

Description: Colin Powell, one of America’s most admired public figures, reveals the principles that have shaped his life and career in this inspiring and engrossing memoir. Its message of strength and endurance is intended to help readers everywhere achieve a more fulfilling life and career.




Good to Great - Police Leadership Book

Good to Great

Author: Jim Collins

Description: The author of “Built to Last,” the defining management study of the 1990s, Collins studies successful and unsuccessful businesses to shed new light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice in this 2001 best-seller.




The Leadership Challenge - Police Leadership Book

The Leadership Challenge

Author: James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Description: A gold-standard manual for effective leadership, The Leadership Challenge” is grounded in research and written by premier authorities in the field. With deep insight into the complex interpersonal dynamics of the workplace, this book positions leadership both as a skill to be learned, and as a relationship that must be nurtured to reach its full potential. 



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Daring GreatlyDaring Greatly - Police Leadership Book

Author: Brené Brown

Description: A New York Times best-seller from thought leader Brené Brown, this transformative vision for the way we live, love and lead emphasizes the power of vulnerability.




Called to Rise - Police Leadership BookCalled to Rise

Author: Chief David O. Brown and Michelle Burford

Description: The Dallas police chief who inspired a nation with his response to the killing of five of his officers shares his personal story and his faith in America’s potential to unite communities through a dedication to transparency and trust.




The Leadership Dojo - Police Leadership BookThe Leadership Dojo: Build Your Foundation as an Exemplary Leader

Author: Richard Strozzi-Heckler

Description: History is filled with accounts of great leaders, but how did they become so? Written for emergent leaders in any endeavor, this work from renowned consultant Richard Strozzi-Heckler offers a new approach to leadership.




Man's Search for Meaning - Recommended Book for Police Leaders

Man’s Search for Meaning

Author: Viktor Frankl

Description: Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. A Library of Congress survey that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found “Man’s Search for Meaning” among the 10 most influential books in America.




Legacy by James Kerr - Police Leadership Books

Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us All About the Business of Life

Author: James Kerr

Description: Best-selling author James Kerr goes deep into the heart of one of the world’s most successful sports teams, the legendary All Blacks of New Zealand, to reveal 15 powerful and practical lessons for leadership and business.




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Lead for Gods Sake - Reading for Police Leaders

Lead … for God’s Sake!: A Parable for Finding the Heart of Leadership

Author: Todd Gongwer

Description: The lives of an intensely driven basketball coach, an ultra-successful CEO and an unassuming janitor intersect in this captivating parable about leadership, relationships and the pursuit of success. This unforgettable story will challenge you to think deeply about who you are as a leader, what success means to you and why you do what you do.



The Score Takes Care of Itself - Police Leadership Book

The Score Takes Care of Itself

Author: Bill Walsh

Description: Bill Walsh, a towering NFL figure whose leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst franchise in sports to a legendary dynasty, shares his leadership philosophy in a series of interviews with bestselling author Steve Jamison.



Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible VoyageEndorance: Sheckleton's Incredible Voyage - Recommended Reading for Police Leaders

Author: Alfred Lansing

Description: Leadership and heroism take center stage in this definitive account of the harrowing and miraculous 1914-15 voyage of legendary Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance.




Heroic Leadership - Police Leadership BookHeroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World

Author: Chris Lowney

Description: Author Chris Lowney reveals the leadership principles that have guided the Jesuits for more than 450 years: self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism. Lowney shows how these same principles can make each of us a dynamic leader in the 21st century.




Lincoln on Leadership - Recommended Reading for Police Leaders

Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times

Author: Donald T. Phillips

Description: What Abraham Lincoln did to become our most honored and revered president is history. “Lincoln on Leadership” is the first book to examine his diverse leadership abilities and how they can be applied to today’s complex world.




The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership - Police Leadership Book

The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership

Author: Steven B. Sample

Description: In this offbeat approach to leadership, college president Steven B. Sample challenges many conventional teachings on the subject. He urges leaders to focus on some key counterintuitive truths, and offers down-to-earth, homespun and often provocative advice on complex and thoughtful issues.



Rising Through the Ranks - Recommended Book for Police Leaders

Rising Through the Ranks: Leadership Tools and Techniques for Law Enforcement

Author: Mike Wynn

Description: Effective leadership is a journey, not a destination. Former Pittsfield, Mass., Police Chief Mike Wynn tells real stories of leadership and courage from police departments and investigative agencies.



The Desire to Serve - Police Leadership Books

The Desire to Serve: Servant Leadership for Fire and Emergency Services

Author: Eric Russell

Description: The author presents a leadership philosophy that applies the values of “agapao love,” humility, altruism, vision, trust, empowerment and service to the field of law enforcement and emergency services.



FBI-LEEDA Recommended Leadership Books

Leaders Guide to Unconscious Bias - Police Leadership Book

The Leaders Guide to Unconscious Bias

Authors: Pamela Fuller, Mark Murphy and Anne Chow

Description: Ideal for every manager who wants to understand and move past their own preconceived ideas, The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias explains that bias is the result of mental shortcuts, our likes and dislikes, and is a natural part of the human condition. And what we assume about each other and how we interact with one another has vast effects on our organizational success–especially in the workplace. Teaching you how to overcome unconscious bias, this book provides more than thirty unique tools, such as a prep worksheet and a list of ways to reframe your unconscious thoughts.


Tempered Resilience - Police Leadership Books

Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are formed in the Crucible of Change

Author: Tod Bolsinger

Description: Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains, is uniquely positioned to explore the qualities of adaptive leadership in contexts ranging from churches to nonprofit organizations. He deftly examines both the external challenges we face and the internal resistance that holds us back. Bolsinger writes: “To temper describes the process of heating, holding, hammering, cooling, and reheating that adds stress to raw iron until it becomes a glistening knife blade or chisel tip.” When reflection and relationships are combined into a life of deliberate practice, leaders become both stronger and more flexible. As a result, these resilient leaders are able to offer greater wisdom and skill to the organizations they serve.

Lessons from the Navy - Police Leadership Books

Lessons from the Navy: How to Earn Trust, Lead Teams and Achieve Organizational Excellence

Author: Captain Mark Brouker (U.S. Navy Ret.)

Description: Through step-by-step guidance, easy-to-use leadership techniques, and the lessons of his military experience, he empowers readers to actively build trust with their subordinates—enabling them to boost morale, enhance productivity, and strive for success. Lessons from the Navy: How to Earn Trust, Lead Teams, and Achieve Organizational Excellence is for leaders who want to do better, who want their staff and colleagues to do better, and who want to win the trust and dedication of the people at all levels of their organization.


150 Essential Insights on Leadership - Reading for Police Leaders

150 Essential Insights on Leadership

Author: John C. Maxwell

Description: Influential author and teacher John C. Maxwell travels around the world to meet with people of all backgrounds, helping them discover their God-given purpose. John’s timeless leadership principles equip and empower people—from Fortune 500 companies to community leaders—to do remarkable things and lead significant and fulfilled lives. Now you can gain from John’s wisdom and guidance with this collection of some of his most impactful quotes. Whether you are called to lead or you’re simply seeking God’s direction for your life, you will benefit from his valuable insights on taking action, dreaming big, and investing in others.
The FBI Way - Recommended Police Leadership Book

The FBI Way: Inside the Bureau’s Code of Excellence

Author: Frank Figliuzzi

Description: Frank Figliuzzi was the “Keeper of the Code,” appointed the FBI’s Chief Inspector by then-Director Robert Mueller. Charged with overseeing sensitive internal inquiries and performance audits, he ensured each employee met the Bureau’s exacting standards. Now, drawing on his distinguished career, Figliuzzi reveals how the Bureau achieves its
extraordinary track record of excellence—from the training of new recruits in “The FBI Way” to the Bureau’s rigorous maintenance of its standards up and down the organization. All good codes of conduct have one common trait: they reflect the core values of an organization. Individuals, companies, schools, teams, or any group seeking to codify their rules to live by must first establish core values. This is how the FBI does it.

The Power of Ethics - Police Leadership BooksThe Power of Ethics: How to Make Good Choices in a Complicated World

Author: Susan Liautaud

Description: It’s not your imagination: we’re living in a time of moral decline. Publicly, we’re bombarded with reports of government leaders acting against the welfare of their constituents; companies prioritizing profits over health, safety, and our best interests; and technology posing risks to society with few or no repercussions for those responsible. Personally, we may be conflicted about how much privacy to afford our children on the internet; how to make informed choices about our purchases and the companies we buy from; or how to handle misconduct we witness at home and at work. Today’s ethical challenges are increasingly gray, often without a clear right or wrong solution, causing us to teeter on the edge of effective decision-making.

Trusted Leader: 8 Pillars that Drive Results - Police Leadership BookTrusted Leader: 8 Pillars that Drive Results

Author: David Horsager

Description: The Eight Pillars of Trust (Clarity, Compassion, Character, Competency, Commitment, Connection, Contribution, and Consistency) are based on Horsager’s original research and extensive experience working with Fortune 500 companies and top government agencies around the globe. In addition to the business parable, this book is rich in practical advice for implementing each of the Eight Pillars. You will learn strategies to increase alignment, overcome attrition, and get absolutely clear on executing your top priorities. Horsager offers
a road map for how to become the most trusted expert in your industry

Leading Things You Didn't Start - Police Leadership BookLeading Things You Didn’t Start: Winning Big When You Inherit People, Places, and Possibilities

Author: Tyler Reagin

Description: Sure, it’s inspirational when we hear stories about those who founded companies from their garages with one hundred dollars cash while in high school. But such success is super rare and not always how it plays out for great leaders. The reality is that most leaders are responsible for corporations, teams, and products they didn’t launch from the
ground up. Tyler Reagin saw the immense need to address this mission-critical but often overlooked aspect of leadership: healthy transition for leaders who inherit teams, places, or platforms others created.

Inclusive Leadership - Recommended Reading for Police LeadersInclusive Leadership: The Definitive Guide to Developing and Executing an Impactful Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Authors: Charlotte Sweeney & Fleur Bothwick

Description: The most successful organizations are those with the most diverse and engaged workforces. Studies show an 80% improvement in business performance among those with high diversity levels. When people feel included and able to reach their full potential, they are more engaged, more productive, and often more creative. Inclusive Leadership will help you drive culture change using organizational development principles. It takes you through the key components of leading change throughout the employee lifecycle, your supply chain, and product development. Crucially, it will help you make a genuine impact on your business, through your people, both now and in the future.

Police Leadership Reading List: One More Recommendation

For more reading material related to law enforcement life, education and professional development, check out the Law Enforcement Leadership blog published by the University of San Diego’s online Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership master’s degree program.

Free eBook: How earning your master’s degree can help you achieve your career goals.

Moving Up the Ranks: How a Master’s Degree Can Help You Take Your Career to the Next Level