10 Must-Read Books for Facility Managers
These titles will help improve workplace culture and leadership traits.
By Doug Pearson, Contributing Writer
Culture eats strategy for breakfast. A positive culture can lead to better employee retention. With staffing continuing to be the No. 1 challenge for facility managers, now is the time to instill a great workplace culture.
To help create a path to better work environments, here is a list of 10 must-read books for a facility manager.
- A Passion for Leadership by Robert M. Gates. Regardless of your political affiliation, this book is straight forward with many great examples of how to lead people. Gates discusses both how to lead effectively with ethics, and how not to lead.
- Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken. This illustrated explanation of the necessary steps to sustainability includes discussion on energy, food, buildings, land use, transportation, materials, and social issues.
- Growing Weeders Into Leaders by Jeff McManus. This is a great read about the human aspects of running a grounds department at Ole Miss University.
- Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. If you don’t spend much time on emergency preparedness, this book with change your approach. A detailed account of the horrific events at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. This award-winning book covers the events and investigation into patient deaths.
- The Smartest Guys in the Room, The Story of Enron by Bethany Mclean. A great reminder of the importance of business ethics. A detailed account of the fraud that caused Americans to lose faith in a system that rewarded top insiders with millions of dollars while small investors lost everything, including many pension funds.
- Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher. This book is considered one of the best about negotiation. Since publication 30 years ago, it continues to be a highly readable and practical primer on the fundamentals of negotiation.
- Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman. This No. 1 bestseller by a leader in the emotional intelligence field discusses the importance of self-awareness, self-discipline, and empathy. Emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened throughout our adulthood —with immediate benefits to our health, our relationships, and our work.
- A Little Book About Workplace Culture by Randy Grieser. One of the most meaningful things we can do with our time is to help to create workplaces where people like to work. When a workplace culture is purposefully created to be respectful and inspiring, people are happier, more productive, and more engaged. This handbook outlines 6 elements of good workplace culture.
- NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (current edition) by the National Fire Protection Association. If you are going to read one code book cover to cover, this is the one. Meet the modern challenges of helping to protect people from fire and related hazards. Fires remain among the most prevalent dangers in our society, claiming nearly 4,000 lives each year in the United States alone. Often, the difference between life and death is something as simple as the use of smoke alarms and practicing basic fire prevention habits. Safety first!
- HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Change Management by John P. Kotter. This book contains 10 of the most important articles on managing change from the Harvard Business Review.
Doug Pearson, associate vice president of facilities planning and operations for Kent State University, and a 2022 Facility Champion Award recipient, wrote about the importance of departmental culture for FacilitiesNet’s membership community fnPrime.