How to build strong teams: 8 must-read books

How to build strong teams: 8 must-read books

Want to make your team more cohesive, collaborative, and successful? These eight books will help leaders and team members take teamwork to the next level

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April 10, 2019

Mastering Collaboration: Make Working Together Less Painful and More Productive

By: Gretchen Anderson

Book description (via O’Reilly): “Collaboration is key for organizations in the 21st century, yet few business people have been trained to teach this skill. How do you advance ideas in a collaborative way and then communicate them throughout your company? In this practical book, author Gretchen Anderson shows you how to generate ideas with others while gaining buy-in from all levels of your organization.”

Why you should read it: As companies look for candidates with soft skills to fill open positions in IT, the ability to collaborate effectively with a team is high on their list of must-have capabilities. This book is for both team members and team leaders – anyone who wants practical idea, exercises, and techniques for making better group decisions.

The Catalyst Effect: 12 Skills and Behaviors to Boost Your Impact and Elevate Team Performance

By: Jerry Toomer, Craig Caldwell, Steve Weitzenkorn, and Chelsea Clark

Book description (via Amazon): “’The Catalyst Effect’ identifies the behaviors and skills needed to lead from wherever you are, regardless of your role or title. It describes powerful leadership and teamwork principles – 12 clearly defined competencies, based on field research with professionals in business, sports, the arts, and non-profit organizations – that will elevate the performance of individuals, teams, and your entire organization.”

Why you should read it: The best team members and team leaders make everyone around them better. They are catalysts for creativity and innovation. When leaders build this capability into every member of their team, they can see dramatic improvement in outcomes. This book promises a practical guide to do just that.

Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking with People Who Think Differently

By: Dawna Markova and Angie McArthur

Book description (via Amazon): “Collaborative intelligence, or CQ, is a measure of our ability to think with others on behalf of what matters to us all. It is emerging as a new professional currency at a time when the way we think, interact, and innovate is shifting. In the past, ‘market share’ companies ruled by hierarchy and top-down leadership. Today, the new market leaders are ‘mind share’ companies, where influence is more important than power, and success relies on collaboration and the ability to inspire.”

Why you should read it: Authors Markova and McArthur worked as “professional thinking partners” to some of the world’s top CEOs and creative professionals, and became experts at getting difficult people to work together along the way. If “other people” are your biggest challenge at work, this book can help you change your thinking – by finding ways to value the thought-patterns and ideas that are different from your own.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

By: Patrick Lencioni

Book description (via Amazon): “Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams – even the best ones – often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team.”

Why you should read it: First published in 2002, this leadership fable offers timeless lessons according to the CIOs we speak with regularly. They aren’t the only ones who continually revisit Lencioni’s book for wisdom and advice. The book has more than 2,400 reviews on Amazon. Pick up this book for a gripping tale that offers insights on issues that team leaders deal with every day.

[ Want advice on leading teams toward an innovative culture?  Get the free eBook, Organize for Innovation, by Jim Whitehurst. ]


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