Books are a powerful tool in improving your performance as a project manager, and there are quite a few project management books out there dedicated to improving our process and performance. But non-project management books can be just as helpful to you and your team. I’ve listed a few great options below that you can check out and read during your spare time.
Humans are creatures of habit. Nearly every single thing we do is a collection of routines, patterns, and habits that are built up over time. The Power of Habit takes this essential truth and picks it apart. It deconstructs the human habit and finds a way to use this knowledge to improve people’s lives: how to quit smoking, for instance, or how to start exercising regularly. But it also looks at institutional habits, the daily processes and quirks that mean the difference between a bad company and a great one. This book could help you channel the power of habit to make you a better project manager, and change your team’s work culture for the better.
This book examines companies that made the leap from being merely average to becoming great, and compares them to companies that didn’t. Project managers can learn a lot from this book, especially in terms of what makes effective leadership in a corporate environment. It also gives excellent perspective on company performance in the larger view, and how people can foster change from within.
Written by a senior lecturer at MIT, The Fifth Discipline is a book that teaches the systems thinking method approach to problem solving. Systems thinking is essentially trying to understand how various things influence each other within a specific environment. It emphasizes group dynamics and turning a company into a “learning organization”, which solves problems by analysis and introspection. Project managers can use these lessons to improve team process and dynamics, and to detect and analyze problems in institutional thinking.
Project management is essentially people management. Without the right social skills, you’re going to be more dangerous to your team than effective. This classic book on social interaction is still as relevant today as when it was released over 80 years ago. Not only will you learn how to make yourself accessible to and valued by others, but you’ll also become a better manager because of it.
Do you have any favorite books that have changed the way you've thought of project management? Comment below.
Image credit, Ian Wilson, Flickr