I do a lot of reading and recently finished an insightful and encouraging book by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall entitled Nine Lies About Work. I found this to be an encouraging and entertaining read that I have in fact now gone through twice (in part because I will be leading a discussion about it with some people from my work). There are great ideas in here particularly about building great teams and I would recommend it to anyone.
The nine “lies” they discuss are as follows:
#1: People care which company they work for
#2: The best plan wins
#3: The best companies cascade goals
#4: The best people are well-rounded
#5: People need feedback
#6: People can reliably rate other people
#7: People have potential
#8: Work-life balance matters most
#9: Leadership is a thing
I won’t spoil the book by revealing how they dissect those lies and what they propose instead, but I can say it is based on solid research and offers some valuable insights.
In one of the early chapters on goals, the authors suggest two crucial questions for team leaders to ask their team members each week: “What are your priorities this week and how can I help?” These struck me as great questions. They are always relevant, always specific, and always lead to beneficial action – even when team members are scattered from the office. They keep the team member focused on what matters most for their week and allow the team leader to know exactly what her team is working on. There are a number of helpful nuggets in this book that I hope to apply in the months to come, but these questions seemed like a great place to start. I hope you can also find some encouragement from these two questions, though I know that in truth it’s not that simple.