Book Review: A Team of Leaders


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A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative, and Deliver Results

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

Publisher: Amacom, 2014

Pages: 240

Teams: The Key to the Future

Many changes have occurred in the workplace in the past 25 years. Great efforts have been made to increase productivity. Companies have been hit with so many financial challenges that their people have been stretched to the limit when it comes to being able to take a breath, coordinate with their follow workers and come together as a team, with common goals. Across industries, people are wearing many hats, handling two and three jobs and covering for those former fellow employees who were downsized during the recent recession. Often, this kind of working environment has led to the formation of individual silos where workers do their own thing, looking forward, but never left or right to their compatriots. To say that the results have been near disastrous is an understatement. 

The time to bring leaders together into cohesive, cooperative management teams has never been more important. In fact, if we don’t start working as teams, we are doomed to mediocrity. And this is why A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative, and Deliver Results is so important.

As the authors explain, the conditions of the past few years have brought us to the brink of the lowest productivity levels in history, with most managers operating at a sub 30% productivity level! This means that most of the time most managers are just spinning their wheels trying to raise above the bureaucratic gorilla dust that has been thrown up in recent years.

But there is hope. As a management consultant, I read this book with great anticipation; I, too, have been severely affected by the loss of productivity to the extent that it has gotten more difficult than ever to execute management change with my clients when the very act of getting managers to lift their heads long enough to meet in the same room at the same time has become challenging.

This book answered many of my questions. From the first chapter, when the author explains their unique team development model and outlines a step-by-step process, from team evaluation to how to implementing high-performance teams, they had me. Chapter after chapter, the authors take readers through the necessary steps for building highly effective teams, focusing on team leaders, membership and processes.

From the book:

Five Stage Team Development Model:

  • Align the team’s structure and core information systems…
  • Identify and strengthen processes that support a team of leaders…
  • Enable team members to fully grasp…significance of what they contribute every day…
  • Tap into the power of Visual Management…
  • Create a team-wide sense of engagement in teamwork while improving individual performance…

I have a read a number of team-building books this year and I rank this one at the very top. The only advice I can give you is to not only buy and read this book, but also buy enough copies for all of your team members.

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