December 31, 2007

Book Review - The First-time Manager's Guide to Teambuilding

The First-time Manager's Guide to Teambuilding
Gary S. Topchik
HD 30.4 .T67 2007

Topchik's short book is an overview that describes the processes and problems involved in building a managing a team. His intended audience is individuals new to the leader or manager role, but it also serves as a reminder of the key concerns for project managers or senior leaders as well. The book is divided into five sections. First, Topchik defines teams and teamwork, presenting several models of team composition and function. Next, he differentiates the role of the team leader or manager from those of other team member, describing skills and responsibilities that the leader has. Third, he presents requirements for developing a team spirit. Fourth, he overviews some of the challenges in managing the team. Finally, he suggests a number of team-building activities that might help members get to know each other and become interdependent. This is a quick read that hits the highlights of team leadership. Topchik could have put more emphasis on the uniqueness of each team throughout his writing, however. He mentions the difficulties in getting individuals to work together, but does not offer concrete steps or suggestions to overcoming these.