Required Reading For Team Members

Here is a great question that came in from the incredible community that thrives on this blog:

Books to read

I work at a medical clinic.  like many doctors, I have not always wanted to pay attention to the business side. That obviously was a mistake.

We are coming out of a phase of replacing team members who were “legacies”. That is, they were long term employees, before I came.  However, they were not capable of filling their roles. It took too long to let them go, but we knew we made the right choice within two weeks.

Now I am feeding myself on leadership and your podcast. I want to start required reading as a part of our team building.  What is the very first book you would recommend my whole staff to read?

Thanks so much for your time,

– Jon

Wow. Great question Jon. There are a ton of books that I think every team member should read. But since you are asking for the very first book, I would have to say QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, by John G. Miller.

The reason is, it’s about personal responsibility. If you’ve ever heard people say things like:

  • Why do we have to go through all this change?
  • Why can’t we find good people?
  • When will that department do its job right?
  • Who dropped the ball?

Then you know exactly how much of a pain in the back side these people are to deal with. Why? Because they never had a good leader to begin with. Therefore, they have what I call, force-of-habit-thinking!

QBQ gets them asking questions like:

  • What can I do to fix this problem?
  • How can I be a solution?
  • What are the steps necessary for me to…

In a new role like yours, with people who have been there with the last leader, I would focus on getting my team thinking about how we go forward, not pointing fingers about the things that are wrong.  I hope that answers your question Jon.

Question: What would you recommend as a first book for a leader in Jon’s position?


Creating A Legacy with Tom Ziglar

Starting a Business and Team Building with William Vanderbloemen [Podcast]



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

78 thoughts on “Required Reading For Team Members”

  1. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – Everyone can benefit from a dose of John Maxwell. Of course Entreleadership is up there as well, but that seems like a gimme…

  2. Thanks for the book idea. I am going to start this with my team. Book ideas? Hmm. That’s a great question, and I’m not really sure. I really enjoyed LOVE WORKS by Joel Manby.

    And anything by John Maxwell…is great. Developing the Leader Within You – John Maxwell is one of my favorites. (Great focus on influence.)

      1. Nope, me either. Great reading always. What I found with that book was how FULL each chapter was. I’d find myself reading a chapter – or just a few pages, then shutting the book and feeling….WHOA. There’s so much to this.

        I still think the focus on influence in “Developing the Leader Within” was so powerful and sobering.

  3. This post is perfectly timed! We are just about to start reading a book a month with my team. We are planning on starting with the “No Complaining Rule” by Jon Gordon. Can’t wait to see what everyone’s suggestions are!

  4. As the first book besides EntreLeadership, I agree with your recommendation of QBQ. After that there are several, a book by John Maxwell would be a good choice. A book that really got me looking at developing my team was “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. As a person is really starting to develop their team this helped show me some focus areas and then other books I read supported the development in each of these areas.
    The books by Jon Gordon are good as well, just finished the Energy Bus. This may be a good read for someone trying to get the team energized after some changes as mentioned.

  5. Totally agree with QBQ – it’s such a great basis for anything else. It all starts with personal accountability with everyone on the team at any level. We had all our team members read this a couple of years ago, but we’ve got a practically new team now – need to suggest we read it again. Great reminder, Chris.

  6. For “ordinary” team members, Linchpin by Seth Godin.

    For leaders with a focus on strategic initiative, anything by Jim Collins.

    For leaders with a focus on functional teams, Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan.

    And for everyone to get along, either Strengthsfinder 2.0 or Strength Based Leadership by Tom Rath.

  7. For “ordinary” team members, Linchpin by Seth Godin.

    For leaders with a focus on strategic initiative, anything by Jim Collins.

    For leaders with a focus on functional teams, Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan.

    And for everyone to get along, either Strengthsfinder 2.0 or Strength Based Leadership by Tom Rath.

  8. Love the suggestions already thrown out. A couple of books that I would recommend for our leadership team are:

    Love Works by Joel Manby
    Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
    Leadership is Dead: How Influence is Reviving It by Jeremie Kubicek

    I also like several of the authors thrown out so far like: John Maxwell, Jon Gordon, and Jim Collins.

      1. Agreed. See my comment above in response to Joshua Rivers. I’ve been linking up with Bill Grandi to post about Love Works every Wednesday for the next several weeks. So far, it’s been a great discussion.

  9. QBQ would definitely be the best book to read first…and second…and third…

    EntreLeadership would, of course, be a top choice.

    5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell is a must-read also (or a must-listen – I “cheated” and did the audio book first). Gives great perspective of your role as a leader and to develop yourself as a mentor.

  10. I was going to be putting together a master list of books I need to read. I’ll probably go back and put a list of ones I’ve already read, too. These comments provide great suggestions!

    1. you know, I’ve decided to take a small break from leadership books and right know I’m reading a super fast novel called, “The River” by Michael Neal. It’s like giving my brain a chance to go play out side and stretch it’s legs a bit. But a list is a great idea.

  11. Wow picking a FIRST book is like picking a baby’s first song they should ever listen to.

    EntreLeadership is probably the best overall book. So many of the others suggested and ones I thought of are incredible but more narrowly focused.

    I think the great thing about the EL book is that it spends a lot of time at the 30,000 foot level. It occasionally and effectively dips down under 10,000 feet, but doesn’t spend too much time there.

    So that is why I suggest it as a first book. Then work from there with books like:

    The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
    Leadership and Self-Deception (this one will mess you up for a while)
    Good to Great
    The E-Myth
    Countless other books by Maxwell, Lencioni, Collins, and others.

    Personally, I think the important thing is to not make your reading a solo effort. Do it as a part of book club at work or with a group of fellow leaders. Yes, read plenty on your own as well, but pick 3-12 great books a year and read those with your group.

    1. I dont know if “mess you up for awhile” is really what he’s looking for Matt…just sayin. I’ve made a list of your recommendations though and the next time I want to be messed up, I’ll pass on the hard narcotics and go straight to that book 😉

  12. It’s so obvious! Dave Ramsey’s book EntreLeadership! I am re-reading it for the 4th or 5th time right now. It covers all of these topics and mentions all of these other books. After that you could start reading through these other great books everyone is mentioning!
    I’m just saying!

  13. I’ll echo the “Entreleadership” endorsement of others. The first impression might be that it’s a book for business owners or people in leadership positions, but really it’s a good read even for team members.

    Besides that… “Linchpin” by Seth Godin. This is a great one for team members because it shows them how they can become indispensable at their company/organization.

    –Tony Gnau

  14. I would have to go with the classic: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders”. Here’s the reason: The seven habits that Dr. Covey outlines are eternal principles. Once you recognize them, every other book you and your team read, you will identify those principles in them and have a framework for all you learn.
    It is, by far, the best book I’ve ever read of leadership, business and life.
    That being said, EntreLeadership is a close second! You could swap and read this one first and “7 Habits” second if you wanted. Both are amazing.

  15. Totally agree that QBQ would be the book Jon should use for required reading by his team….I would follow that up with 21 Irrefutable Laws of Teamwork (Maxwell), and then follow that up with the classic How to Win Freinds and Influence People. I think if Jon could get his team to read these three books in the next year, then it would make his job much easier!

  16. The Fred Factor (Fred 2.0 is coming out in March, btw), You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader and Up, Down or Sideways… all by Mark Sanborn. If people realize that they can serve because it’s the right thing to do, they can assume their leadership independently of their role or their title. Jon will nurture a culture of doing simple things in their ordinary tasks that may have extraordinary effects for the team and their patients. The rewards of building such a team will exceed the need for power, position or a bigger paycheck.

  17. Because I surrounded my ears with Dave Ramsey and Pod cast, the first two books other than the Bible that really helped me stop whining about others was, QBQ, then later I did and read Strengths Finder 2.0. When I started to learn my team members strengths and how they liked to be communicated, my performance creativity, and positive attitude went through the roof.

  18. Thanks to Chris for posting my question. I loved everyone’s book suggestions. I have pledged to read a book a month, and now have a few to share with my team as well.

  19. My team just finished reading The Oz Principle by Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hackman. It is a great read on personal accountability, especially in times of where the organization is already experiencing great change.

  20. QBQ is a great book to start with as required reading. To me the question was toward what is great for the team to read so I’ll skip leadership books to mention. Some others have hit that. I would then toss out the idea of Who Moved My Cheese, Poke the Box. After that I do like some follow up ideas. I worked somewhere that in addition to reading the book we had to submit a book report on it – not bad. However, I would lean toward a different direction – my suggestion would be for monthly or quarterly readings with a follow-up group discussion. Just like a book club, talk about the book and its application to your organization, clients, customers, team members (both professionally and personally) and pick a new book for the next month/quarter. Anther possibility for these meetings is to watch a great video, like a TEDTalk – Simon Senteck is a great start for that.
    I tried suggesting this and pushing for it at my company and continued to get,”that wont work.” As QBQ author Miller said in his interview with Chris Locurto, At that point “Believe or leave.” Well, I’m outta there. Working on my exit plan now. In fact I have a third interview Saturday for a lunch interview. See post on January 25th.

  21. We’ve decided to start our team with “The Secret” by Ken Blanchard/Mark Miller. Our leadership team started off with “Integrity” by Dr. Henry Cloud. However, we have a solid short list of books we recommend our leaders read, including “From Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

  22. QBQ is a great suggestion!! Of course Entreleadership is also fantastic!!

    As a matter of fact, I agree with Matt McWilliams & J. Steele & Aaron Nelson .

    Haven’t read the Fred, so there you go. Thanks for that Lily Kreitinger; just downloaded. 🙂

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