It allows us to build relationships and show empathy with the team we’re working with by sharing our own experiences and helps people to learn through the messages in the story.
I have always been a reader but over the years have drifted in and out of summer-time reading to relax and switch my brain off and reading for my learning and leadership development. It was a client of mine recently who shared that he had shifted his habit of glancing at his phone before heading to bed and instead, reading 10 pages, that has inspired me to make it a nightly habit.
It was a few years ago when I wasn’t in great shape; not feeling like I was good enough in most areas of my life, that I took a bunch of books to read over summer and 1 changed my life. When I read Brené Brown’s “I Thought it Was Just Me (but it isn’t)”, it was like it was written especially for me. It helped me to re-shape my personal trademark and remind me what was important to me and the value I can add to others as a leader. I think it was a bit about reading this book at exactly the right time, but I love books that have this kind of impact.
We have collectively put together this list of books that have had a profound impact on us as leaders and team members.
They all have ties to the importance of relationships, purpose and conversations for individuals and teams.
Some might not have been intended to be leadership books but the author’s storytelling ability has made them too compelling not to share.
We hope you enjoy
These are in no particular order – all are excellent.
1. I thought it was just me (but it isn’t) – Brené Brown
Recommended by Martine Harkin
This book by the bestselling author Dale Carnegie, had a huge impact on me when I first read it. Brené talks about how our imperfections are what connect us to one another and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.
2. Chop Wood Carry Water (How to fall in love with the process of becoming great) – Joshua Medcalf
Recommended by Simon Fletcher
3. The Gold Mine Effect by Rasmus Ankersen
Recommended by Jake Bridges
This book reflects on powerful examples of teams and cultures that have succeeded despite not having the best facilitator’s or the most money. This links to our high-performance models origins of getting more from less.
4. Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore
Recommended by Maree McKeown
A practical and straightforward book for those wanting to get a sense of what is possible in the on-going process of giving and receiving feedback in the workplace.
5. Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Recommended by Aaron Rogers
6. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
Recommended by Shelly McElroy
This book is a fable, it encapsulates the magic of storytelling and relating to real life examples. Lencioni builds rapport with you as a reader and brings you on the journey. There are some pinnacle questions to digest and the back section with tools and techniques that can be implemented by anyone.
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
Recommended by Kurt Wrigley
For me this book is powerful as it talks about the shift required for self-mastery. This occurs by resisting a natural urge to look outside & blame others and instead looking inside and taking responsibility.
It provides a practical framework for time management. It also has great examples of teamwork, collaboration & communication and a focus on continuous improvement.
8. How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie
Recommended by Ellie Pietsch
9. The Choice by Edith Eger
Recommended by Tim Ferguson
In this memoir Edith provides great insights into the power of purpose. With countless examples and stories from her own story as a survivor of Auschwitz, a mother, a wife and from her work as a psychologist.
10. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Recommended by Tim Ferguson
In this novel Rohinton provides a great insight into culture, relationships, and resilience. Set in India is 1975 four strangers are forced to help each other as unrest mounts as the Government declares a state of emergency.
11. The Leading Edge – Holly Ransom
Recommended by Anna Sallows
This book is a collation of stories and insights into Holly’s immense experience as a leader and interviewer. She keeps in simple in the way she structures the book and includes so many powerful examples of what you can do to develop your leadership skills.
12. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
No book list for us at Leading Teams can be complete without including this book from Viktor Frankl. Whilst it is only a small book the message and lessons are immense, Frankl outlines how he used purpose and mental fortitude to survive against insurmountable odds.
13. Any Given Team – Ray McLean
Yes, Ray McLean is the founder of Leading Teams but he is also an expert facilitator, who has spent most of his career thinking about how to improve team performance and why leaders need to invest in their team’s dynamics.
Any Given Team is the origin story of Leading Teams through Ray’s eyes as he established the link between improving performance and investing in team dynamics. As the title suggests these learnings are applicable to any group of people who call themselves a team.
14. Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart – Gordon Livingston
Recommended by Daniel Healy
This was the first book our co-founder, Ray McLean ever recommended to me. Livingston provides a list of 30 truths for living that he has captured over his lifetime from his career working as a psychiatrist and his personal life.
15. Australia Day – Stan Grant
Recommended by Brendan Maher
Not purposely written as a leadership book, Stan Grant outlines some uncomfortable truths in Australia and what leaders/ the country need to do to take responsibility for them. This is an inspiring insight into what leaders do, none better than Grant himself.
16. Super Teams – Khoi Tu
Recommended by Jesse McLean
17. Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery – Roger Kneebone
Recommended by Martine Harkin
As the title suggests this book is about how to become an expert at something. Kneebone investigates and interviews hundreds of experts to ascertain what makes them tick and what makes them successful at what they do.
18. High Performing Habits – Brendan Burchard
Recommended by Damien Hill
19. Simon Sinek – Start with Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action
Recommended by Lucas Gamble
This is Simon’s first book, in it he outlines how successful leaders have used their why/ their purpose to influence others. He looks back on leaders from the past and highlights what they all have in common and how that shapes how they think, communicate and act.
20. Inner Game of Golf – W. Timothy Gallwey
Recommended by Gavin Mahony
This is the best book I read that discusses self-talk and how it can impact on performance. Whilst I am not a golf player the insights shared are universal, this book tackles the psychological aspect of the game and identifies how you can perform more consistently using your inner self-talk.
21. Teamwork – Ray McLean
Ray’s second book is a collection of stories from our team and their clients. Stories of how clients have invested in their team’s dynamics, built relationships and established a common purpose. These stories are all completely different but they all have the similar thread of business improvement and resilience under pressure.
Martine joined Leading Teams in 2008 after an 11 year teaching career. Martine is a Facilitator/Partner based in Melbourne.