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10 Books You Should Read if You Lead a Team

I’m sure I don’t need to espouse the benefits of learning and knowledge here—we all know that we need to continuously learn and grow to stay relevant and be successful in life (not to mention the intrinsic joy to be had in the process of learning). What we all potentially need reminding of though, particularly in this era of tweets and listicles, is that long-form written works, books, are key in developing a deeper understanding. There are so many books that I love, that I had difficulty in keeping it to ten. Read on if you are serious about leading and developing a high-performing team. In no particular order...

    The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey.
    Trust: without it your team is likely to descend in anti-social and destructive behaviours. New research is demonstrating that groups with high levels of trust will be wealthier, more successful and even healthier. So do yourself a favour and make sure you read this book so you can build trust in your team and make everyone’s lives a little better.

    The Wisdom of Teams by Katzenbach and Smith.
    This is a definitive work on building teams in organisations. This is must read for getting back to basics and building a solid understanding of what a team is, why we structure it in teams, and how to best use teams in an organisation to drive performance.

    Drive by Daniel Pink.
    If you are leading a team of people then you need to understand what makes them tick. Here’s a hint, it often isn’t what we think. Many organisations still try motivating people using techniques from a long-gone era. If you want high-performing knowledge workers, then this book is the easy-to-read guide to getting there. Pink has drawn on the wisdom and findings of academia and translated into a pleasurable and easy read.

    The Whole Brain Business Book Herrmann and Herrmann-Nehdi
    A favourite of mine, based on a favourite tool of mine. I have long espoused the benefits of Whole Brain Thinking and the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. This book by now in its second edition is a great introduction to the model and the thinking behind it. Learn how to use cognitive diversity in your organisation. Discover how you can capture the benefits of different thinking styles.

    Groups at Work by Mink, Mink and Owen.
    With a solid academic backing, this book is the practical guide for understanding how groups of people work and what you can do to ensure they work well. With resources, guides, and activities, this book is the hands-on tool-kit for managers that want to perform.

    Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Field Guide by Patrick Lencioni
    This practical field guide is based on the similarly named fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Lencioni. The field guide provides you with a framework and structure to develop a high-performance team. With multiple levels of detail the book is suitable of leaders and managers of any experience level.

    Team Genius by Karlgaard and Malone
    Reporting on the latest research and offering case studies, this book is the modern go-to for managers and leaders who want to follow best practice in planning, designing and managing great teams. With particular attention on the size of teams and a detailed look at the lifecycle of teams this book is likely to become a staple of any leader’s bookshelf.

    Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? by Goffee and Jones
    A significant part of any team’s success is the performance of the team leader. This book shows you how to be an “authentic chameleon”; you’ll discover how to adapt your leadership style for changing situations while always remaining true to yourself. Goffee and Jones are professors at the London Business School and INSEAD respectively so you know you’re going to be getting the very best of valid theory and information here.

    Mastering Virtual Teams by Duarte and Snyder
    With so many of our teams being in a variety of locations. I feel I need to include at least one book that gives you strategies, tools, exercises and techniques that will help you navigate the added complexity of dealing with virtual teams. Although the technology may have changed since this book was published the fundamentals remain the same and this a comprehensive guide to getting it right.

    The One Minute Manager Builds High Performance Teams by Blanchard, Carew and Parisi-Carew
    A classic guide that has recently been updated with lots of new research and information. This easy-to-use guide will help you to unleash the power of teamwork so that the daunting and overwhelming become the easy and effortless. 


Pick up one of these books today to gain new information and insights, or simply to reconnect with previously learnt knowledge. It's a competitive world out there, and you need to stay  at the top of your game and be the best leader you can be, and much of that is about bringing out the best in your team. 


Aileen was able to customise our program to our needs throughout the day and she ensured that our experience was as engaging and useful as possible. The team connected with the program throughout the day by using interactive and theoretical activities. We were able to gain a better understanding of how our work preferences and communication styles worked with everyone else in the team.

achieving SYNERGY’s program left a strong impact at Pilbara Joblink – the team continually talk about the day and their new found understanding of how best to interact to get their required outcomes.

Maggie Beattie - Operations Manager Pilbara Joblink