None of us is as smart as all of us. ― Ken Blanchard

This is tough category to pick a “Top 5” for because there are a LOT of good books on team building (sadly, there is a lot of bad books too).  What I am attempting to provide is a good variety from the most recent set of books I have studied and applied to my own leadership.

I should also point out, that while most all of these books are written for the broader business world, each one has invaluable insight and application for both the Christian Non-Profit and Church leader.  If you are looking for more of a biblical foundation for teams, then read my review of “Embracing Shared Ministry” by Dr. Joseph Hellerman.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni

This is the first teams-based book that created a major paradigm shift in how I build teams. I first read this book while on staff at a church with a highly dysfunctional leadership and Lencioni opened my eyes to a better way.

Senior Leadership Teams: What It Takes to Make Them Great by Ruth Wageman, Debra A. Nunes, James A. Burruss, and J. Richard Hackman

This book lays the foundation for three team-essentials: 1. a real team, 2. a compelling purpose, and 3. the right people. It also outlines the structure for three team-enablers: 1. structure, 2. support, and 3. coaching. This book is targeting organizations with Senior Leadership Teams (SLT), but I find the basic principles valuable to teams at every level

Ordinary Greatness: It’s Where You Least Expect It … Everywhere by Pamela Bilbrey and Brian Jones

This is the book I wish every Christian would read.  So many of our churches are structured around the meg-star mentality, that we are missing out on the real power of ordinary greatness.  This book describes what God made us, the Church, to be and why he gave us a diversity of giftings from the Holy Spirit.

The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and James Noel

When one leaders moves on, you have to have a plan of succession, or you will fail. Building for the future is one of the biggest challenges leaders face, and this book will help inspire you to build a leadership pipeline that will keep your business or ministry moving forward.

 Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders by Barbara Kellerman

Another breath of fresh air coming from the business world.  “Followership” departs from the leader-centric approach that dominates both our business and church structures and brings respect to the role of follower. Followers matter, and the trend is accelerating where followers are becoming more important, and leaders less. This book will challenge the conventional thinking on how you build great teams.

I discuss all of these books in my podcast @ Christian Leadership Radio so you can listen to the archives for more insight. If you have your own ideas on what books should be in a top 5 list for building better teams, please be sure to leave a comment and a link. I am always looking for good ideas.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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