The best books about teamwork

2 authors have picked their favorite books about teamwork and why they recommend each book.

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

By Patrick M. Lencioni,

Book cover of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

We can find ourselves feeling helpless in a dysfunctional team situation. This book normalizes the experience and maps out a path for improvement. It’s written in a fictional-novel format that makes it fun and easy to read. The book describes how a leader helps get her team in shape, but anyone can make change. The core dysfunction is lack of trust, followed by fear of conflict. I have found that in my work, that building trust and competency around healthy conflict is absolutely key for organizations. I won’t spoil the other 3 dysfunctions, I’ll let you read it yourself!

Who am I?

My mission in life is to create soulful workplaces because I believe that we spend so much time at work that it impacts society at large. To feed this passion I read. A lot. Too much. I have devoured many hundreds of books on improving organizations. I haven’t found one book that has all the answers, but there are several that capture a lot. I also find that if a book is fun and easy to consume, it’s stickier; I can hand out copies and enroll people in the vision and start to implement the ideas in their organization.  Fun books lead to action.

I wrote...

Cultivating Transformations: A Leader's Guide to Connecting the Soulful and the Practical

By Jardena London,

Book cover of Cultivating Transformations: A Leader's Guide to Connecting the Soulful and the Practical

What is my book about?

The nature of transformation is that it’s about uncharted territory, and that means that the answers are unknown. This book will offer you tools to get oriented, identify patterns, and work through the challenges without feeling lost and overwhelmed. If you’ve ever felt like you could help but no one was listening, or people were resistant to your help, this book will help you stay grounded and supported in your work. When it starts to feel like it’s you against the world, this book and this community are here for solace and support. This book will be your partner while you dance between the soulful and practical.

The Fifth Discipline

By Peter M. Senge,

Book cover of The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization

Senge brought systems thinking—what he calls “the fifth discipline”—to the world of business management. There are very few single-brand companies, so leaders need to learn the skills for managing multiple brands as a system instead of as a simple collection of brands. While this book is not about branding per se, you’ll learn a lot about thinking in systems instead of reacting to challenges independently of one another.

Who am I?

In my younger days I was a graphic designer and copywriter, approaching brands largely from a creative viewpoint. Over the years I’ve discovered that creative work is much more powerful when harnessed to business strategy, and business strategy is much more powerful when combined with exceptional creative work. I’ve characterized the gulf between strategy and creativity as the “brand gap,” which has led to eight books on branding and a school for professional mastery called Level C.

I wrote...

The Brand Gap

By Marty Neumeier,

Book cover of The Brand Gap

What is my book about?

My goal was to write a book that busy professionals could finish on a short plane ride, but still go deeper with every re-read. I used the visual language of the boardroom—charts, diagrams, illustrations, and the fewest number of words—to present the first unified theory of brand. Here you’ll learn the five critical disciplines for bridging the gap between business strategy and customer experience. Over 25 million people have read the book so far, and it’s now the basis of a popular certificate program called Level C.

Team of Teams

By Tantum Collins, David Silverman, Stanley McChrystal

Book cover of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

An outstanding analysis of complex systems and the necessity of trust and collaboration on high performing teams. McChrystal uses SEAL teams as his model for a great team. McChrystal and his team point out that the primary purpose of SEAL training is not to develop super fit warriors as much as it is to develop the interdependence and trust needed to function collaboratively as an elite team in an ambiguous, volatile, complex and uncertain world.

Who are we?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.

We wrote...

Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

By James Tamm, Ronald Luyet,

Book cover of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

What is our book about?

Collaborative skills have never been more important to a company's success and these skills are essential for every worker today. Radical Collaboration is a how-to-manual for creating trusting, cooperative environments, and transforming groups into motivated and empowered teams. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet provide tools that will help you increase your ability to work successfully with others, learn to be more aware of colleagues, and better problem-solve and negotiate.

Radical Collaboration is an eye-opener for leaders, managers, HR professionals, agents, trainers, and consultants who are seeking constructive ways of getting the results they want.


By Cass R. Sunstein, Reid Hastie,

Book cover of Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter

This is honestly one of the smartest books I have ever read about group thinking, negotiating in groups, and avoiding massive group mistakes—which happen around the world every day! The authors give examples from negotiating the names of new household products to understanding group polarization and how to negotiate around it. They break down numerous conflict situations involving groups and give very detailed insights into what is going wrong and what can be done to make things go well. This is a great little book for negotiators, business managers, politicians, and everyday people who want to know how to get what they want in any group negotiations. 

Who am I?

When I got out of college, I fell in love with mediation—resolving other people’s conflicts in all kinds of settings. In developing my mediation career, I got deep into psychology as a therapist, and then deep into law, as a family lawyer. Putting these professions together, I developed a niche in handling high conflict personalities in family, workplace, and legal disputes. Now I teach how to mediate and negotiate with high conflict people around the world. I am excited to share how to negotiate in high conflict situations to bring peace to relationships everywhere. 

I wrote...

So, What's Your Proposal? Shifting High-Conflict People from Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds!

By Bill Eddy,

Book cover of So, What's Your Proposal? Shifting High-Conflict People from Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds!

What is my book about?

I designed this book for anyone to use, but especially those dealing with a high conflict person who loves to blame others for everything. I also wrote it for professional mediators and negotiators dealing with high conflict cases, whether family conflicts, workplace disputes, or legal cases. It cuts to the chase by going straight to proposals, because this works best with high conflict. This makes it extremely simple to use with a 3-step proposal process, which I lay out with numerous examples. Dealing with high conflict people can seem complicated, but the simplest methods work best. After forty years as a mediator (part of the time as a therapist and then as a lawyer), this is my simplest method for resolving conflicts with anyone!  


By Stefanie K. Johnson,

Book cover of Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams

This is the most complete take on how to bring diversity, inclusion, and belonging into your team. This is a very practical guide that shows you how to implement this process step by step. Not only does she explain how to respond to the negative tropes, but she also lays out detailed approaches to make sure your allies and angels do maximum good. A must-read if you want to avoid the common mistakes that bog down this process.

Who am I?

Frans Johansson is the Co-Founder and CEO at The Medici Group, an enterprise solutions firm that helps organizations build and sustain high-performing teams through our revolutionary team coaching platform: Renaissance. Our firm's ethos--diversity and inclusion drive innovation--is informed by our work with over 4,000 teams in virtually every sector and by his two books The Medici Effect and The Click Moment.

My book is...

The Medici Effect

Innovation today is less about expertise and more about how you can rapidly combine insights and ideas, often widely disparate, to create surprising and unique breakthroughs. The Medici Effect is an innovation classic that explores why the most powerful innovation happens at the “Intersection,” where ideas and concepts from diverse industries, cultures, and disciplines collide.

To see how your team can create the Medici Effect, check out the video below! Frans shares how organizations can activate diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and growth.

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