Marcus Buckingham has been one of the biggest influences on how I work with people. His books First Break All the Rules and Now Discover Your Strengths (published 1999 and 2001) are still in Amazon's Top 100 Business and Management.
And two other summaries:
A nice, but low res, video with some key points - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYbzV8SDkdY
And a good, concise summary of the book (and my take-aways as well):
- Managing: "Discover what is unique about each person and capitalize on it."
- Leading: "Discover what is universal and capitalize on it."
- Sustained individual success: "Discover what you don't like doing and stop doing it."
Along the way, Buckingham provides some excellent points of focus, including a very important differentiation between managing and leading that too many of his contemporaries have overlooked: "When you want to manage, begin with the person. When you want to lead, begin with the picture of where you are headed."