While you can’t learn everything about managing employees from books, they do make a great supplement to on-the-job experience, training, coaching, and mentoring. This is especially true if you read the right books – that is, the ones written by people who have gone the route of starting up, building a business or career, and suffering the setbacks before coming through as highly knowledgeable, experienced management experts.
Although there are literally thousands of books on management and leadership skill that you could read, time, as you know, is money. To make sure you get the most value and insight from your vocational reading, here is a selection of four of the best leadership books – The ones which really will help you to better manage your team.
Good to Great by Jim Collins
This book details the results of an extensive five-year study into a number of companies that made the transition from being good to becoming great and then sustained their success to consistently beat the general stock market. The study revealed some amazing facts about what makes a company great, many of which fly in the face of what the business world thought it knew. Good to Great sheds light on most facets of management practice, with a lot of useful insight into the role that teams and leaders play in the success of great companies.
The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack
Jack Stack is one author whose writing is based on years of hands-on business management experience. The Great Game of Business draws on Stack’s successful use of a strategy he calls “open book management”. He developed his strategy while taking an ailing company and molding it into an incredibly successful enterprise. The book is a guide to utilizing the open book management strategy, which the author describes as a game so simple it can be played by anyone.
The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
While Patrick Lencioni is undoubtedly a guru of business management, he is also something of a storyteller. In this book, he melds these two talents together to weave what he calls a “leadership fable” telling the tale of a business team coming apart at the seams. As the CEO in the story struggles to turn things around, Lencioni reveals 5 functional issues that cause even cohesive teams to struggle at times. This book is very relevant if you have ever experienced difficulties with leading a team. Reading it will surely lead to some “aha!” moments.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
The success of this management/personal self-improvement guide by the late Stephen Covey has been phenomenal. First published in 1990, the profound but practical guidance the author shared has, if anything, gained relevance as time has gone on and the business world has evolved. Essentially, the book describes and advocates the formation of seven distinct principles and their use to drive three phases of personal growth. The final phase of growth is interdependence, which means understanding the need to work with others to achieve one’s personal or business-related goals.
All four of these books contain a lot of important guidance for valuable team management. If you read them all, you will find that some of the ideas concur, while in other areas, viewpoints differ. As with any method of learning, take what resonates and test it thoroughly. For sure, you will find that applying some of the authors’ wisdom will improve your management effectiveness.