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Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances Hardcover – July 15, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-1578513338 ISBN-10: 1578513332 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (July 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578513332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578513338
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Written with exceptional clarity and wit, and teeming with original, down-to-earth advice, Leading Teams is indispensable reading for anyone who works in teams, studies them, or wonders what makes them sink or soar."

-Harvey Hornstein, Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University

"This is the book I have been waiting for on team effectiveness. Based on findings and containing insights from the leading researcher on teams, Leading Teams has everything. It is engaging, highly readable, and full of practical, useful advice."

-Edward Lawler, Distinguished Professor and Director, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

"Full of rich stories and organized into compelling cases, Leading Teams clearly communicates an elegant analysis of effective team leadership. A gem for practitioners and researchers alike."

-Chris Argyris, James B. Conant Professor Emeritus, Harvard University and Director, Monitor Group

"In Leading Teams Dr. Hackman takes his extensive knowledge of how to effectively lead teams and mixes it with insightful research and humor, providing the reader with a powerful prescription for improving team performance."

-Dave Bushy, Former Senior Vice President of Flight Operations and 747 Captain, Delta Airlines

"Richard Hackman provides real-world tools that challenge everything you thought you knew about creating high-performing teams. I found myself cheering each time he demolished a popular but wrongheaded conception of how to lead teams and provided a common sense answer in its stead."

-Michael Putz, Senior Manager, Business Development and Strategy, Cisco Systems

About the Author

J. Richard Hackman is the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
Leaders should not attempt to continually manage a team to *push* it to perform well.
Max More
Although at times written like a text book, this is a good book to read for anyone who leads teams.
Duane Lamoureux
If you are a leader, manager, or team member, you are going to want to read this book.
Terry L. McVenes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Max More on October 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Teamwork is more popular as a buzzword than as a practice when it comes to the actual experiences of team members in many organizations. In this engaging, well-structured, and practical book, Richard Hackman addresses this puzzling gap between theory and practice. Teams should have a richer pool of talent and experience, greater resources, and more flexibility than an individual. Yet a painfully large proportion of teams function poorly, often underperforming the same work done by individuals. Drawing on years of research and observation of teams ranging from music ensembles to airline crews to hockey teams, Hackman illuminates the dark corners of teamwork. Anyone working in a team or leading a team will benefit from reading his book. The author's engaging style comes as a significant bonus.
Teams go awry because leaders have focused on the wrong things (such as leadership style) when designing, managing, and supporting teams. Hackman explains why team effectiveness is best measured by the three criteria of a team product acceptable to clients, growth in team capability, and a group experience that is meaningful and satisfying for its members. Team members and leaders alike will benefit from fully appreciating the five conditions that Hackman has found to foster work team effectiveness: having a real team, a compelling direction, an enabling team structure, a supportive organizational context, and expert team coaching - the first three of which are the core conditions.
Contrary to "cause-effect" models of team leadership in which all the emphasis is placed on leadership behaviors and styles, in Hackman's view the central role of leaders is to create and maintain these five conditions. Leaders should not attempt to continually manage a team to *push* it to perform well.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bas Vodde on March 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Leading teams is the best book on the topic of teams that I've read so far. It's very well structured, well researched, well written and full of useful information that can be used in real life to improve teams.

The book consists of three parts of which part II is the main content of the book. Part I is called "challenge" and starts with an comparison of two different airline companies who have different strategies of improving service quality. One using self-directed team and one using more strict processes and procedures. It explains the advantages and disadvantages of the team approach and puts the challenge to how we can create an environment in which a productive team can work. Hackman then proposes five enabling conditions for getting team to work:

1. A real team
2. Compelling direction
3. Enabling structure
4. Supportive context
5. Expert coaching

Each of these are clarified in the five main chapters.

A real team is defined at having four features: a team task, clear boundaries, defined authority and some stability in members. Each of these is clarified and backed up with very interesting research data.

A compelling direction, a clear goal needs to be set for the team. This energizes the team. The chapter on compelling team has some very interesting material on fixing the process or fixing the goal.

Enabling structure builds also on earlier work done by Richard Hackman and talks about structuring the team and structuring the task that the team needs to do. When both of these are structured then they will enable the team and create a possibility of a really well working, highly productive team.

In supportive context, the rest of the organizational context is discussed.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Beatrice Oshika on October 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
An author who proposes a common lens through which to understand the dynamics of the Nighthawks hockey team and the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is pretty audacious, but Richard Hackman carries if off in this book. Solidly researched and very well written, the book presents an apparently wide range of work groups, including airline crews, musical ensembles and hockey teams, and unifies them by illustrating how they are effective (or not) as teams. What do they have in common? "Their work requires members to generate performances 'live' and in real time, often without the chance to go back and try again if things don't go well." The examples are compellingly interesting, e.g., a reader will never fly a 737 again without noticing the specific roles and choreography of the flight crew. It's a good read, far more entertaining than one would expect from a publication of Harvard Business School Press.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on December 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Even generally productive teams need to improve their productivity. I'm quite impressed by the framework provided in this book for diagnosing the quality of the direction you're providing, the way you structure your teams, and the way that people are identified with the teams and how all of these impact the team. It's interesting how much is delivered in this book without prescribing precisely how leaders should behave. As a person with a productive team whose concerns are primarily around keeping the team focused and getting more and more effective, this book was great.

The only thing I didn't like is that it sometimes felt like there was a page target they were trying to hit. The same airplane and manufacturing plant examples are repeated over and over, making it seem like there's very little data backing up this research. The same topics are also hit over and over in nearly the same way (the three areas mentioned before). However, that only hurts the presentation; the fundamental topics are quite solid.
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