If you want to learn about:
There is no shortage of books or articles to choose from. Heck, one search of Amazon for “management books” brings up 80,000 results. Crazy!
If you are anything like us, this overwhelming amount of information has left you asking one question:
What books should I actually be reading?
Well, we think we have got the answer. In this article, we have narrowed down the 11 must-read books on collaboration, teamwork, and management.
These are the cream-of-the-crop that contain the insights you need to learn, improve, and apply the techniques to the workplace.
Let’s dive right in.
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1. Who — Geoff Smart & Randy Street
The first book on our reading list looks at hiring. Having the right people in your organization can make teamwork, collaboration, and management much more straightforward.
Who looks to provide you with a four-step process that will help you choose the right people time and time again.
Geoff Smart and Randy Street do this by sharing stories, breaking down case studies, and distilling complex information into an easy-to-read format.
You will laugh, you will gasp, and you will learn how to put the right candidate in the right place.
2. The 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team — Patrick Lencioni
Topic: Teamwork, Leadership
Patrick Lencioni has a way of using fiction to help create workplace scenarios that resonate with you. And, this book is a perfect example of that.
Patrick uses this book to focus on Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech’s CEO, who is fighting to save a team in such a bad state that it could ruin the company.
Each section of this gripping fable walks you through each of the five dysfunctions of teams, and show you how to effectively (or, indeed, ineffectively) approach it.
The story will show you that leadership and teamwork requires more than just strategies and workflows: there is an emotional element you must pay close attention to.
This is one of those books — like Who Moved My Cheese? — that looks to make you see the “A-ha!” moments so they will stick with you long after you have finished reading.
And, once you are done, you will want to immediately move onto part two…
3. Overcoming The 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team — Patrick Lencioni
Topic: Teamwork, Leadership
This follow-on book was written several years later. It serves to answer many of the questions Patrick received after he published The 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team.
As such, he wanted to create a “field manual” that put the lessons from that book into a straight-talking, actionable book any manager can use in the workplace.
This book takes a step away from fables and looks at real-world scenarios to help you answer questions like:
- Are we really a team?
- How are we currently performing?
- Are we prepared to give what it takes to be a great team?
And give you the tools you need to solve the problems you will face after answering them
4. High Output Management — Andrew S. Grove
Topics: Management, Teamwork
This book can be described as “old, but gold.”
Published in 1995, Intel’s former CEO and Chairman, Andrew S. Grove, lays out what it takes to be a high-performing and motivating manager in any situation.
This book has been a go-to manual for many prominent CEOs and managers including Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Drucker, Bill Campbell, and Marc Andreessen.
This book will help lay the foundation for your own personal style of management and coach you to handle almost any situation the modern workplace will throw at you. Such as:
- How to motivate your teams
- How to attain peak performance
- How to turn subordinates into co-workers
- How to measure and replicate your team’s performance
This is a must-read book for any manager who wants to know what it takes to get their team to go the extra mile, every single time.
5. The Manager’s Path — Camille Fournier
The business world is becoming more digital. That means that data and tech play a considerable role in our day-to-day working life. As such, managers need to be prepared.
The Manager’s Path offers a way for managers to learn how to manage technical team members and handle situations in a tech-focused environment.
Even if you are not a CTO or Engineering Lead, the lessons in this book will help you to future-proof your management skills by showing you how to both lead and thrive.
5. Compassionate Management — Rena DeLevie
Fear-based management has become the defacto setting in many organizations. Managers often want people to “know their place” and use tools like shame to get results.
Rena DeLevie proposes a compelling alternative — compassionate management. She believes it is the key to creating trust, enjoyment, and fulfillment in the workplace.
The teachings of this book are focused on a feeling we can all associate with. We all want to be:
Then she uses these to create a powerful approach to management that is capable of not only increasing performance but transforming your company’s entire culture.
6. Herding Tigers: Be The Leader Creative People Need — Todd Henry
Topic: Management, Collaboration
Herding Tigers is a handbook for creative people in management situations.
One of the problems creatives face — both as managers and employees — is meeting the needs of the business and higher management, while also protecting the creative process.
Todd Henry wrote this book to offer a blueprint on how to do that. By looking at the mechanics behind creative management, he gives a solution that helps creative leaders create:
That will result in an end product that everyone – from clients to creatives to the corporate-minded – can be happy with.
7. Creativity, Inc. — Ed Catmull
Topic: Management, Teamwork, Collaboration
Creativity, Inc. is a book about the intersection of art and business. How to build a creative business (or team or project) that delivers results.
Moreover, the book explores what it takes to achieve success without selling out the artistic soul of the people in your teams. Which, is a thing Ed Catmull and Pixar know a thing or two about.
Do not be fooled by this book’s focus on creativity and inspiration, though. At its heart, this is a management book giving you the tools you need to run a creative organization.
Through stories and case studies, trials and failed attempts, Ed Catmull lays the mistakes and successes of the world’s most famous animation studio bare.
The result is a book that will help any manager who needs to use insight, creativity, collaboration, and teamwork to get the results they need.
8. Rework — Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Topics: Remote Work, Teamwork
Rework is a book that smashes many of our preconceptions about the business world. And, it comes from the founders of Basecamp who built their business around just that.
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hannsson argue that organizations, and the ways we work, are malleable, flexible, and can be adapted to suit each of our specific needs.
There are lessons in the book on leadership and teamwork. But, we find the biggest takeaways come in the form of remote work. How to work effectively, from anywhere.
Whether it is keeping remote workers integrated with the rest of your teams, or creating collaborative systems for people at opposite ends of the world, there is a lesson here for you.
Which brings us to the second follow-on book in this list…
9. Remote: Office Not Required — Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Topics: Remote Work, Remote Worker Management, Collaboration
Remote is a follow-on from Rework but goes in a different direction. It focuses on remote work and shows how the “under one roof” model of work is becoming less relevant.
This book is for both managers and employees who want to explore the possibility of remote work and long-distance collaboration, either for their teams or themselves.
Remote explores the challenges and benefits of remote work and provides actionable solutions for each of them. Specifically, they look at how remote expansion benefits everyone.
If you want to hire the right people and manage them effectively, without locational ties, then you should definitely give this book a read.
10. HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Collaboration — Various Authors
Topic: Collaboration, Management, Leadership
Harvard Business Review’s Must Reads On Collaboration is a collection of articles from the world’s best thinkers, scientists, researchers, and practitioners on the topic.
They take a less anecdotal and more scientific view to collaboration. And, it is a source of valuable insights into how people and teams and organizations can better work together.
The essays and articles in this collection explore:
- Relationship management
- Building a collaborative culture
- Busting silos
- The biology of leadership
- Conflict management
With research-backed, actionable, advice you can start using in the workplace as soon as possible.
11. 100 Tricks To Appear Smart In Meetings — Sarah Cooper
Topic: Hilarious Relatable Satire, Meetings
This is not a serious book. Instead, it is a relatable piece of satire for anyone who has ever sat through a boring meeting, and it will make your life infinitely better.
Sarah outlines 100 instantly recognizable things people do in meetings to sound smart, get ahead, and leave a good impression. Some of our favorites include:
- Make eye contact with your nemesis
- Translate percentage metrics into fractions
- Draw a Venn diagram
- Lean back and look up at the ceiling while clasping your hands behind your head, as if you are deeply considering something
Your only job is when reading this book is to not shout the name of co-worker you last saw do this while laughing to yourself in the corner. (Not that we ever did that. Honest.)
Wrapping This Up
There are far too many books to choose from right now (which is a great problem to have). So, we hope this article has gone some way to making finding your next helpful read a little easier.
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