While it is almost the end of summer, it’s never too late to start catching up on a good read. Most people tend to stick to the usual genres: romance, suspense, cops and robbers or classical works.
We’re going to take a look at some business-minded books, however, the kind of stuff that’s interesting to read and highly applicable to your work life.
These books are aimed at identifying gaps in workflow management between teams as well as individuals, while also encouraging workers to identify their strengths and weaknesses to help improve their personal development and overall work environment.
Learning your team’s dynamic is essential to building a cohesive and productive unit. However, it usually takes time to figure out what makes each person tick as well as what will motivate them to perform at their full potential.
The question then becomes, “What methods or best practices are available to help determine how to overcome dysfunction.”
Written as a business fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, aims to address why teams become dysfunctional as well as how to acknowledge flaws and inadequacies in order to create a purposeful work environment.
Lencioni establishes that there are five main “dysfunctions” that lead to an unproductive group dynamic:
- Absence of trust
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results of the collective
Lencioni explains that when teams strive to understand and accept their inadequacies they can conquer any internal or external strife they may face.
Figuring out where your talents lie can be a difficult task, to say the least. However, there are some great tools out there to help people and companies identify what their aptitudes are and how to best utilize them.
Discover Your Strengths is a Hall of Famer among books in this genre. The authors’ main goal is to help each person discover their strengths through an online or written test.
In contrast to The Five Dysfunctions of a Teams, Buckingham and Clifton encourage their readers to focus primarily on the strengths one has rather than struggle to conquer one’s own weaknesses.
Buckingham and Clifton argue that when group members focus on their strengths, they can position themselves into roles and tasks they know they would be well-suited for.
In essence, the desired end result would be developing desired attributes in each member to improve overall team efficiency while also minimizing employee turnover.
In The Leadership Challenge, authors James Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner aim to train leaders to use a hybrid of both The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and StrengthsFinder.
To accomplish this, they encourage their readers to develop their “practices of leadership.” They advise leaders to lead by example, develop a core vision everyone can work toward and inspire members to think creatively to solve problems.
Part of this process includes a StrengthsFinder-style quiz called the Leadership Practices Inventory, which helps assess a leader’s strengths, weaknesses and efficiencies.
Kouzes and Posner also urge leaders to build a system of confidence in their subordinates that lets them come into their own without micro-managing them.
The leadership gurus believe that high quality leaders must be taught to lead with humility and honesty, rather than rely solely on natural talents.
Wrapping It Up: How These Books Can Transform Your Team
In short, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, StrengthsFinder and The Leadership Challenge all seek to answer the question of how to minimize dysfunction in the workplace, improve productivity and morale.
At the same time, they probe what makes an efficient, respectable leader who is willing to think outside the box to better his employees and company without compromising their convictions.
Personal development and work culture go hand in hand. As summer comes to an end, take stock of where you have been and where you need to go as a company.
This introspection will help your company or workforce better manage the day-to-day stress as well as encourage all team members to strive to better themselves, no matter what weaknesses or talents they exhibit.