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

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

by Paul Gustavson, Stewart Liff
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A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative, and Deliver Results 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. As an organizational professional, I’ve read a lot of management books that I’ve never picked up again. “Team of Leaders” is a book you will want to keep on your 'ready reference' shelf, and also get an extra 'loaner' copy, because as you start understanding and applying it, you'll want to share it with everyone. Here’s why: 1. It will help you create great places for people to work. I loved Paul's epilogue, where he talked about the 'why' for him in writing this book – in watching his own father’s challenging work experiences, he decided that his purpose in life would be to help create great places for people to work. I love that he doesn’t limit the application to corporate environments alone. He frequently cites examples from non-profits, families, churches - anyplace where people need to work together to accomplish great things. In an execution and 'do it now' focused society, leaders often blow right past talking about (let alone implementing) good design principles. Often, it’s simply because they don’t have the know-how or tools to make it happen. Paul and Stew demystify these principles in a very practical and motivational way. 2. It teaches you a very systematic, clear way to think about teams. I had so many light bulbs go on while reading this book about the teams I currently work with. Paul appropriately warns that you won’t be able to implement it all at once, but that understanding the complete roadmap is key to knowing where to start. I immediately shared it with the leader of a non-profit I’m part of. She bought a copy and started reading it right away. The next week, we met as a team and started talking about which stage we were in (stage 2) and outlined steps about how to move to the next level. She began some very strategic shifts in how we operated. While not everyone was excited about it at first, they saw the sincerity of the leader to help them develop their own leadership abilities, and really responded to that. It was so exciting. We know it won’t be easy to get to stage 5, but now our goal is clear and the tools to make it happen are available. A huge success already! 3. It is a treasure trove of tools for building excellent teams. Many books on team building that I have read are more motivational than they are practical. Here, Paul and Stew do an excellent job of describing not only the why and what, but a big chunk of the how. The beginning of the book gives vivid examples of what a stage 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 team look like, and then discloses all the design secrets about how and why those teams are they way they are. Then it moves to how you implement processes to keep things working smoothly after the design is complete. And then, how to assess the value your team is creating and continue growing (knowledge management). Finally, the visual management chapter is truly the icing on the cake as it gives some wonderful secrets to engaging a team visually. You could pay some serious money and spend months of many people’s time working with a consultant to figure out these insights (and still maybe never get there), or you could have it all in your hands, neatly packed into one handy book. From a personal standpoint: - I can attest firsthand, as I have been privileged to have used Paul's model both as a consultant in the for-profit and non-profit world, as well as in my own family, that IT WORKS. I can't count the number of times I've quoted Paul in saying "organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get." People always think I'm really intelligent when I say that! - My husband and I attended a seminar where Paul spoke about how to implement the principles in Team of Leaders in a family environment, and we immediately starting implementing some of the insights in how our family does work around the home (ask my kids in a few months how it's working - as a mom, I'm loving it :) - My dad read the book over Thanksgiving break when he came to visit. He is a leader in a scouting organization and was really excited to start implementing it in his scouting unit. - In particular, I have used the models and principles in the “secrets of great design” chapter about state changes time and again with various organizations, and I feel like it has enabled me to, as Paul does, help create greater places for people to work, with higher functioning teams. It’s certainly not 'easy' to implement, but then great accomplishments are never easy.
JohnCreer More than 1 year ago
It is rare for me to find a business book that I can immediately apply to my work, so it was a welcome change to read A Team of Leaders. One of the major challenges I face are leaders that are overwhelmed with leading a team while being asked to pick up additional duties. We refer to them as player/coaches. Most leaders deal with this challenge by shifting between working far too many hours, ignoring their team, or doing the minimum on their additional duties. This leads to lower productivity as everyone works through the situation as best they can and resigning themselves to the assumption that this is just part of working for a large multinational firm. Gustavson and Liff lay out another alternative that allows leaders to set up their teams in such way that they are not caught between choosing to have a personal life and getting it all done. It allows leaders to understand where they can invest their time to get the greatest return. It also helps employees understand what they can do to avoid a lot the frustration that comes with work for an overtaxed manager. The format is very easy to follow. I love the graphics. It’s been easy for me to show the book to executives and have them immediately connect with the message and get excited about the possibilities. A Team of Leaders is one of those hidden gems that addresses real world problems in very practical terms without oversimplifying the solution.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great leadership book when read should perpetually provide the reader with thoughts and ideas related to their personal experience. It should be relatable. The book should stimulate ideas that the reader wants to share with colleagues and co-workers and implement in their organization. It should motivate by helping the reader see a process for implementation. I found that throughout my reading I was stopping to write notes to myself, send ideas by email or text to my co-workers, typing quotes from the book and planning to use in upcoming work, etc. If you are looking for a good book to help you with ideas to help you as a leader and help others to become a team of leaders with you, this is a good read! I am excited to put these ideas to the test!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“A Team of Leaders” is a must read for 2015! As a person who has studied leadership and been a leader of multiple teams over the last 15 years, this book has opened my eyes to how I approach leadership. I now see how I can transform my teams to high-performing, self-managed teams by following the principles outlined in the book. As I have started implementing the principles outlined in the book, I am already seeing improvement in my team’s performance and in their engagement with the work. Gustavson and Liff have written a book that is easy to read with multiple examples and visuals that reinforce how to actually implement the principles in a real world environment. The simple, yet powerful Five-Stage Team Development Model outlines how a team can move from a very traditional leader at the center of every decision (Stage 1) to a team of people who interact and behave as leaders in all they do (Stage 5). The authors expand on the principle that “teams are perfectly designed to get the results they get” throughout the book. I found this principle to be a key turning point for me and my teams to move from a Stage 1 team to a current Stage 3 team with a plan to continue to move towards a Stage 5 team. As I am implementing these principles, it is allowing my team members to work toward their full potential and be fully engaged in their work processes while allowing me to focus more time and effort on strategic work. As leaders we not only need to consider our structure of the team, but also the alignment and purpose of the work the team does to ensure that we have clarity on the value the team creates. In my experience, a high performing team flourishes in an environment where they know exactly how they contribute to the organization’s purpose. “A Team of Leaders” outlines how you can do this with your team. I strongly recommend “A Team of Leaders” to anyone who manages or leads a team of individuals – business, nonprofit, government, and even family…everyone can benefit from this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am confident that A Team of Leaders will help you to significantly improve your team’s and organization’s performance as you learn the principles it teaches and implement the techniques and tools provided. Who will benefit most from A Team of Leaders: - A member of a team - Team leaders - Executives responsible for teams - Consultants and coaches to teams and leaders - Anyone looking for a comprehensive “recipe book” on building a high performing team What I found most valuable about A Team of Leaders: PRACTICAL: It does a very effective job of stating true principles and very quickly translating them into practical tools and techniques that can be applied HOW-TO’S: The tools and templates are valuable in giving extra guidance to build a high performing team. Many books I have read on similar topics have left me wanting for more “how to” guidance. ACCESSIBLE: The book is written in a very straightforward and easily digestible format. TEAM STAGES: I found the team stages model really helpful. It gave me a clear way to think about team development that matches and helps explain my experience with teams. VALUE THROUGH KNOWLEDGE: I also found chapter 5 about knowledge management to be of particular interest and value. It does a very succinct and effective job of outlining a topic that can most of the time feel ethereal and unmanageable. Overall, highly recommended read. As a consultant to leaders and teams, this book has sharpened and greatly expanded my toolkit to help teams improve their performance. I look forward to continuing to learn from it as I apply it in my work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book breaks the mold and teaches how to build true teams.  I’ve worked with people and organizations professionally for over a decade; throughout, I’ve embraced the principle that “high performance work teams help to create a strategic competitive advantage,” the premise of this book.  I know this to be true, yet I’ve proceed to teach leadership and build teams in very traditional ways because I could not figure out how to fully implement actual high-performance work teams.  I was content to celebrate a leader establishing a vision and “motivating” others to help achieve his/her plan, and call that success.  I could not succeed to build actual teams where leadership was shared across all members (actual high performance work teams.)  After several attempts, I though it to be impossible.  This book proves me wrong and shares how to succeed with such a goal.   “A Team of Leaders” breaks tradition and defines a better way to build real teams.  I look forward to implementing it with the organizations with whom I associate, including my family.  It teaches principle, process and practicality.  This book builds on standard practices of building teams as it lays out a comprehensive approach to achieve results as a team.  If you are looking for one approach to build a team, this is the one you will need.   Both Paul and Stewart have actually done what they teach; their credibility is solid.  Because of their experiences, they “get it,” and in this book, they have found a way to share their unique expertise with us so we can “get it” too.  They marry the idealistic with the practical as they teach their model.  This book is simple and enjoyable to read.  If you have any involvement in a group or team, you will want this book to help you succeed.           
Richard_Feller More than 1 year ago
As a former faculty member at two state universities, a dean at a comprehensive community college, a change leader in Fortune 200 company economic turnarounds, and a CEO for the past 20 years, I have found “A Team of Leaders” to be both stimulating and engaging. Paul and Stew have a rich and varied background where they have assisted organizations in various sectors to generate improved bottom line performance through the creation of highly engaged teams. Illustratively, I can personally resonate with their principle that leadership can and should be shared.  Further, my experience is that the higher a team moves up the five stage model that the authors espouse, the higher the correlation between team performance and member engagement. My close working association with high performing teams is that they thrive on knowing exactly how they can contribute to what is important in the organization – and then have the opportunity - to proceed to do exactly that! Unfortunately, that is a principle I frequently find missing in many team development models (how to assist teams to know, every single day, whether they have, or have not, generated value).  Fortunately, that is not the case with “A Team of Leaders” as Paul and Stew articulate a “Value Creation Model”.  This is just one of the many reasons why I applaud the author’s contribution.  I also found Paul and Stew’s sixth principal “Visual Management” to be an especially important learning.  The authors graphically point out through a variety of tools and examples how to design a team’s surroundings to reinforce the purpose of the team, the value teams can/do contribute to their customers and partners, and how they are performing.  I found this to be a great tool for building and reinforcing organizational alignment to what is important within the enterprise.  Bottom line, I strongly recommend “A Team of Leaders” to anyone in a leadership role regardless of whether that happens to be in business, government, community service, or with the family. In my professional opinion, a highly diversified audience ranging from the CEO to division head, manager to team leader, community service to volunteer leaders - could directly benefit from a study of this book.   Richard Feller, MBA, Ph.D.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's rare to come across a book that so clearly and practically lays out what it takes to create great and enduring teams. This book creates a compelling case that as teams evolve into teams of leaders, they collectively design and deliver work and team processes that create sustainable business results. It's clear that this book is a culmination of years of collective wisdom and insights that has been tested and applied across multiple organizations with impressive results. If you're serious about creating competitive advantage, "A Team of Leaders" is your playbook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Must read for every leader and team member. I've worked with Paul and applied this principles with our team and having seen the lasting impact and power of "A Team of Leaders".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shane-Cragun More than 1 year ago
I know Liff and Gustavson and when they combine together and pull their different expertise together they are going to introduce breakthrough concepts. And A Team of Leaders is breakthrough thought leadership on the topic of high performance teams. Why I'm enthusiastic about the book is it actually codifies what they have been doing with clients so the rest of us can get a glimpse into the what and how's of team performance. Oh, I really liked the format. Easy and fun to read. Well done! Shane Cragun
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago