You’re a competitive spirit and another team building’s right around the corner? Do you want to step up your game when group activities are involved? Or you’re not that much into games, but you wouldn’t want to be the one who lets his team down?
Say no more! We’ve made up a list of the best team building books, to help you create a more cohesive, collaborative, and successful group. Before diving deeper into each and every one of them, you might want to know what you’re going to find in these books and why they are worthy of your time.
What are ‘books for team building’?
These are more like practical guides that offer you the basic knowledge to overcome challenges quickly, as part of a group. In books for team building, you will find concepts and strategies that will help you build strong, productive teams. They come up with a wide range of tips and trends that contribute to developing team building skills. Usually, the authors are accomplished industry leaders who use their personal experiences – successes, and failures – to educate their audience.
How many types of team building books are there?
Depending on the area of focus, there can be many types of team building books. Here are some examples:
- Team building books for employees
- Team building books for managers
- Books on how to build a team
- Books on the dynamic of a team
- Books for team building
Why should you read books about team building?
Some days, communication in a team is amazing, and some days, things just don’t work out. You might be only a mindset shift away from the right pattern. That’s when team building books come into play. They are meant to teach how to communicate and collaborate well, listen to different opinions, tolerate others’ points of view, recognize and appreciate each other’s contributions, and also create leaders who protect and nurture an environment in which the team can thrive.
The best team building books
1. ‘Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard’ by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
‘Switch’ shows that successful changes follow a pattern; a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
And going through changes is necessary for any business or organization. Nothing can remain the same forever. But how people deal with change is all over the board and can create a lot of problems within a team dynamic. ‘Switch’ helps you merge your emotional mind with your rational mind. This one’s a perfect team building book because it’s an easy read and everyone in the group can skim it, then express their thoughts and takeaways. Reading it – as a team – will give you all a new framework to get through changes and process things together.
2. ‘The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team’ by John C. Maxwell
Leaders have struggled with creating effective teams since the dawn of humanity. Is a strong work ethic the secret or is it ‘chemistry’? Well, ‘The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork’ will equip you with the ‘how-tos’ and mindsets for creating a successful team, whether you’re a coach or player, teacher or student, CEO or non-profit volunteer.
John C. Maxwell, a leadership expert, and best-selling author, is aware that creating and keeping a great team is no easy undertaking. Even those who have led their teams to the pinnacle of their profession struggle to duplicate the factors that led to their triumphs. In his practical, down-to-earth manner, Maxwell imparts the crucial team-building ideas required for achievement in every kind of business.
This is what you’ll find in ‘The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork’:
- The Law of High Morale inspired a 50-year-old man who couldn’t even swim to train for the toughest triathlon in the world;
- The Law of the Big Picture prompted a former US president to travel across the country by bus, sleep in a basement, and do manual labor;
- Playing by The Law of the Scoreboard enabled one web-based company to keep growing and make money while thousands of other Internet businesses failed;
- Ignoring The Law of the Price Tag caused one of the world’s largest retailers to close its doors after 128 years in business;
- And many other great stories!
3. ‘We’re All In This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging’ by Mike Robbins
In this team building book, business expert Mike Robbins delves deeply into the ways that great companies foster collaboration, establish trust, and perform at their very best. There are also some common characteristics that enable teams to actually come together and grow, despite the fact that every team and organization has its own particular difficulties, objectives, and dynamics.
The main principles of the book include creating a climate of psychological safety, encouraging inclusion and belonging, dealing with and resolving conflict, and keeping a healthy balance between high standards and empathy. To help you and your team speak more authentically, give and receive feedback skillfully, and forge deeper connections, Mike reveals effective exercises and strategies he’s successfully applied in the keynote speeches, group sessions, and corporate retreats he provides.
4. ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable’ by Patrick Lencioni
As captivating and illuminating as his first two best-selling books, ‘The Five Temptations of a CEO’ and ‘The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive’, Patrick Lencioni provides a leadership story in ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’. This time, he applies his sharp intellect and mastery of narrative to the intricate and fascinating world of teams.
The CEO of Decision Tech, Kathryn Petersen, is faced with the ultimate leadership challenge: bringing together a staff that is so disorganized that it poses a threat to the entire business. Lencioni’s totally compelling story serves as a timeless lesson that effective leadership calls for both bravery and intelligence. Lencioni highlights the five dysfunctions that are at the core of why teams—even the greatest ones—often struggle throughout the narrative. He provides a strong framework and doable recommendations for overcoming these typical obstacles and creating a unified, efficient team. Lencioni has created a gripping narrative with a poignant but deceptively straightforward message for everyone who aspires to be an extraordinary team leader, just like he has with his prior novels.
5. ‘Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World’ by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall
‘Nine Lies About Work’ reveals the few core truths that will help you show just how good you are to those who truly rely on you.
- You crave feedback.
- Your organization’s culture is the key to its success.
- Strategic planning is essential.
- Your competencies should be measured and your weaknesses shored up.
- Leadership is a thing.
These seem to be the facts of our modern work life. But in truth, they are all myths. Every time we go to work, we run into distortions, false assumptions, and incorrect thinking, as Cisco Leadership and Team Intelligence head Ashley Goodall and strengths expert and popular author Marcus Buckingham demonstrate in this thought-provoking, inspirational book. precisely nine falsehoods. They lead to disarray and annoyance, which eventually leaves workplaces that are only a shell of what they could be.
The authors reveal the essential truths that such freethinking leaders will immediately recognize: that the strength and cohesiveness of your team, not your company’s culture, matter most; that we should focus less on top-down planning and more on giving our people reliable, real-time intelligence; that rather than trying to align people’s goals, we should strive to align people’s sense of purpose and meaning; and that people don’t want constant feedback, they want helpful attention.
6. ‘Stick Together: A Simple Lesson to Build a Stronger Team’ by Jon Gordon
‘Stick Together’ sends an important message about the importance of faith, ownership, connection, love, inclusion, consistency, and hope. The authors take individuals and teams on an inspiring journey to show them how to persevere through challenges, overcome obstacles, and collaborate to achieve success.
Coach David, a high school basketball coach looking to motivate his team for the new season, is the protagonist of this team building book. The members of the team are given sticks with words written on them and assigned to a variety of missions:
- to pinpoint another player who has the same word written on their stick;
- to explain why that word is critical for a team’s success;
- to make their sticks unbreakable.
As the players collaborate to complete their tasks, they learn how to strengthen their team and form an unbreakable bond. ‘Stick Together’ is ideal for student-athletes and teams in all industries, including business, education, healthcare, and nonprofit, as well as readers of all ages who want to improve their team performance and excel in a group setting.
7. ‘Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High’ by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny
‘Most books make promises. This one delivers. These skills have not only helped us to change the culture of our company but have also generated new techniques for working together in ways that enabled us to win the largest contract in our industry’s history.’ – Dain M. Hancock, President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
‘Crucial Conversations’ provides readers with a tried-and-true seven-point strategy for achieving their objectives in all emotionally, psychologically, or legally charged situations that may arise in their professional and personal lives.
The techniques are based on the authors’ highly popular ‘Dialogue Smart’ training seminars and are aimed at getting people to lower their defenses, create mutual respect and understanding, increase emotional safety, and encourage freedom of expression. Readers will also learn about the four main factors that characterize crucial conversations, as well as a powerful six-minute mastery technique that will prepare them to work confidently through any high-impact situation.
8. ‘Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know’ by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell explores our interactions with strangers and why they more often go wrong.
How did Fidel Castro manage to deceive the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain believe he could put his trust in Adolf Hitler? Why are there more sexual assaults on college campuses? Do television sitcoms teach us something false about how we relate to one another?
These are some of the questions he tackles in this team building book. Gladwell contends that something is seriously wrong with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to communicate with strangers, we invite conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a significant impact on our lives and the world.
9. ‘Leaders Eat Last’ by Simon Sinek
In ‘Leaders Eat Last’, Simon Sinek, internationally bestselling author of ‘Start With Why’, investigates these great leaders in Leaders Eat Last, from Marine Corps Officers who sacrifice not only their place at the table but often their own comfort and even their lives for those in their care, to the heads of big business and government – each putting aside their own interests to protect their teams.
The author emphasizes the idea that if we look after our people, they will look after us. They will work to make our cause a reality. Another strong belief explored in this book is that leadership is a responsibility rather than a rank. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge, not about being in charge.
10. ‘The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy’ by Jon Gordon
Jon Gordon draws on his experience working with thousands of leaders and teams to provide insights, actionable strategies, and positive energy.
‘The Energy Express’:
- demonstrates how to eliminate negativity and infuse positive energy into your life
- gives you the tools for creating a positive team and culture
- offers insights from working with some of the world’s largest corporations
Nobody can expect to get through life without encountering difficulties. Life isn’t always a whirlwind of unbridled pleasure and happiness. But that doesn’t mean you can’t approach everything with zeal – a big dose of positive energy is all you need to feel great, succeed, and enjoy life! And the international best-seller ‘The Energy Bus’ can assist you in living a positive, forward-thinking life.
Read this team building book and learn the 10 secrets to overcoming adversity and harnessing the power of positive, infectious energy to create your own success!
11. ‘Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In’ by Brett Bartholomew
Learning how to move others – not just physically, but also psychologically and emotionally – is critical in the world of strength and conditioning. People are the ultimate performance variable, and knowing how to effectively blend knowledge of proper training with the nuances of human behavior is critical to assisting athletes in reaching their ultimate goals. Unfortunately, while the science of physical training has received considerable attention, the science of communication has received little attention.
This gap is bridged by ‘Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In’. Readers will learn the fundamentals of improving relationships, increasing engagement, and gaining athletes’ trust through targeted communication. Readers will also learn concrete strategies for applying these principles in the day-to-day coaching situations that they will inevitably encounter. The result is a game-changing book that lays the groundwork for coaches to foster a culture of success not only in sports but also in other areas. ‘Conscious Coaching’ is a movement that has arrived.
12. ‘Driven By Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity’ by David Livermore
Diverse teams are far more creative than homogeneous teams, but only when effectively managed. Today’s boardrooms think tanks, and employee lounges are more varied than ever. These cultural differences can either lead to stalemate among stubborn, single-minded thinkers or catalyze innovation and growth among a diverse group of creative, unique individuals.
‘Driven by Difference’ identifies the management practices required to reduce conflict while maximizing informational diversity found in diverse values and experiences. This essential resource teaches managers of diverse groups how to: Using the cultural intelligence, or CQ, of diversity success stories from Google, Alibaba, Novartis, and other ground-breaking companies, this must-have resource teaches managers of diverse groups how to:
- make the perfect environment;
- when choosing and selling an idea, keep the various audiences in mind;
- create and test for a variety of users;
- combine opposing viewpoints;
- align objectives and expectations.
13. ‘The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything’ by Stephen M.R. Covey
Trust is the foundation of all relationships. Teams that do not trust each other are less joyful, more stressed, and spend more time second-guessing and double-checking each other’s work.
The eldest son of Stephen R. Covey has written a revolutionary book that will guide business leaders, public figures, and their organizations to unprecedented levels of productivity and satisfaction. According to Stephen M. R. Covey, trust is the foundation of the global economy in the twenty-first century, but its importance is often overlooked and misunderstood. Covey teaches you how to instill immediate trust in everyone you meet – colleagues, constituents, and the marketplace – allowing you to avoid the time-consuming and energy-draining check and balance bureaucracies that are frequently relied on in place of genuine trust.
14. ‘The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups’ by Daniel Coyle
‘The Culture Code’ reveals the secrets of some of the world’s best teams, from Pixar to Google to the US Navy SEALs, describing the three skills such groups have mastered in order to generate trust and a willingness to collaborate. It provides a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation thrives, problems are solved, and expectations are exceeded by combining cutting-edge science, on-the-ground insight, and practical ideas for action.
Furthermore, it illustrates a symbiotic relationship between team building and company culture. While team building helps to solidify and promote company culture, a healthy company culture also assists leaders in developing strong and happy teams.
Seth Godin recommends this one – ‘There are profound ideas on every single page, stories that will change the way you work, the way you lead, and the impact you have on the world. Highly recommended, an urgent read’.
15. ‘Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration’ by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
‘Creativity, Inc.’ is a book for managers who want to push their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into Pixar Animation’s nerve center – into the meetings, postmortems, and ‘Braintrust’ sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at its core, a book about how to build a creative culture.
Step up your game by reading the best books for team building! Make sure you check out eTeamBuilding for other interesting reads, but also to discover fun team building games for adults, outdoor activities for the young ones, or backyard get-togethers!