Accomplishing your resolutions this year can be as easy as picking up a book. A new decade means a blank slate—and endless opportunities for you and your company to learn and grow together. Whether you’re focused on improving your own career or your workplace, these books are filled with actionable advice for Workplace Teams that you can apply to your job today. Here’s what we’re reading:
1. No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
Focus: Professional development
Our emotions can affect all aspects of our workplace experience—our health, motivation, decision making, teamwork, communication, culture, and leadership—but that doesn’t mean they’re unwelcome. In fact, harnessing the right emotions at work (at the right time) can help us achieve our goals. In No Hard Feelings, Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy teach us how to express our emotions at work in a more productive way, helping us all make our work lives a bit easier.
What makes a leader? Is it empathy? Courage? The ability to have difficult conversations, or the power to develop someone else’s potential? In Dare to Lead, Brené Brown uses decades of her own research to explore the most essential leadership qualities and how to cultivate them in yourself and in others. In Dare to Lead, you’ll not only learn what it takes to be a truly great leader, but how to become one too.
In today’s workplace, culture is a necessity. But how do you create that culture, and ultimately sustain it? In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle takes a closer look at some of the world’s most successful organizations to find out what works—and what doesn’t. You’ll gain useful insights about the culture-building process, and learn how to transform your own company’s culture for the better to inspire learning, collaboration, and trust.
Focus: Collaboration and interior design
From cubicles to conference rooms, the look and layout of your space can have far-reaching impacts on employee behavior and their overall workplace experience. Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft detail the small and large-scale changes that you can make now to shape your company culture and employee habits in the long term. But Make Space is more than just a book—it’s a tool to help you design the optimal workplace environment, one that promotes both creativity and collaboration across teams. In it you’ll find DIY hacks, construction projects, seating arrangements, design templates, case studies, professional insights, and more.
For too long businesses have relied on what Susan Cain calls the “Extrovert Ideal”—the belief that the best type of person (the one we want to hire and make a part of our workplace culture) is someone outgoing and bold, who is willing to take risks and thrives in the spotlight or as part of a team. Cain makes the case for how much we lose by maintaining this value system, and ignoring the personality type that has lead to some of the greatest contributions to society: the introvert. If you’re not an introvert yourself, you know one—a family member, friend, or colleague—and Quiet will change how you see them forever.
Focus: Career growth
Whether you’re a current manager or are aspiring to be one, The Making of a Manager will help you make a positive impact. Drawing from her own experiences managing, Julie Zhua gives her best advice for confidently running (and managing) teams of any size. Why should you have one-on-one meetings? How do you give feedback to a direct report? What are the best practices for interviewing a candidate? How can you empower others and promote teamwork? This book will help you figure it all out.
Focus: Employee engagement
While workplace technology helps us connect and collaborate in more ways than ever before, author Dan Schawbel argues that too much virtual communication can increase feelings of isolation in employees. Back to Human provides examples, exercises, and activities that bring people together (without relying on technology), so that employees are more engaged, productive, and ultimately happy at work.
Focus: Productivity and self-improvement
Habits are hard (but not impossible) to build and break. James Clear, a leading expert on habit formation, offers proven strategies for mastering good behaviors and eliminating bad ones, so that you’re on track to accomplish your goals at work and in life. In Atomic Habits, you’ll find the motivation you may have been lacking.
Focus: Time management and work-life balance
We all wish we had more time. But how do we get it? Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky help us carve out more time in our days for the things we truly care about, making life (and work) feel less busy and chaotic along the way. Make Time isn’t your average productivity book, but it will help you focus, optimize your time, and create better habits.
Focus: Workplace design and improvements
Interior design doesn’t have to be daunting. With this guide, you’ll have everything you need to be the expert, and implement any ideas you have for your workplace—whether it be improving lighting, acoustics, and energy efficiency, or keeping the aesthetics in line with the latest building codes. Interior Design Illustrated is a great resource for those doing it alone, or as a companion piece for those working with a design professional.