One of the best ways to spark new thinking within a team is by reading a book together. When teams read together, they think together. They look at their business with fresh eyes and have discussions that might not happen otherwise. Team reading projects create a common language: a short-hand for describing situations and solutions.  Reading about other leaders and business is often energizing… they did it, why can’t we?

There are dozens of great leadership books published each year — but here’s a tip: the book doesn’t matter as much as the conversations you have.   Use these questions to get your team talking about whichever book you read:

  • What stood out to you?  What was something you agreed with or liked?  Did anything set off your ‘b—s— detector’?
  • How does this relate to our team and the challenges we face?  How can we apply this to our work?
  • What were your personal take-aways?  How will this change the way you work and lead?
  • Who else on our team would benefit from reading this book?  How can we encourage them to read (and think about) this book?

Looking for help picking a book? Here are eighteen books to get your team reading (and thinking) together:

If you need your team to work as a team

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
  • The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman
  • Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler 
  • How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey  

If you need your leaders to lead

  • On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
  • Leadership Without Easy Answers by Ronald A. Heifetz
  • Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier
  • Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling by Edgar H. Schein
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

If you’re facing a big change or complex problem

  • Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  • Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni

If you need some motivation

  • Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet
  • Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
  • Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins and Adam Skolnick

Interested in learning more?  Ready to get your leadership team on the same page?  We’re ready to help.  

About the author: Andy Erickson is CEO and principal consultant at Humanus Solutions, a consulting firm that build leaders, teams and routines that engage people and create breakthroughs.. He can be reached at