Making of a Manager & Crucial Conversations

I have two go-to books for anyone who wants to be a tech manager:

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson

What I like about the first book is that makes you feel like you can do it! The hardest part of being a leader is the nagging feeling that someone should be doing it. Even after years of experience, of seeing people I admire and put on pedestal fall of it and reveal themselves to be fulling functioning and flawed human just like the rest of us, I find it helps have a cheerleader somewhere behind me saying โ€œGo on, you can do thisโ€ and Julie Zhuo does a great job of that interspersed with practical advice on managing people. The second book, Crucial Conversations effectively teaches you how to do what julie Zhuo does so well in her book. Kerry Patterson outlines when to see you are having a crucial conversation and then gives practical advice on how to frame these conversation in a way that empathetic, clear, and tackles the problem in a non-emotive way that facilitates conversations rather than placing barriers to response.

This is a good summary I found: https://rfr.bz/l6otlcg

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Ask Your Developer

Ask Your Developer: How to Prosper in a ‘Build or Die’ Business Landscape” by Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson is an outstanding book for numerous reasons. Most notably, Lawson delves deep into the significance of integrating engineering needs into the business and emphasizes the importance of maintaining frequent and effective communication with engineers.

All too often, I’ve witnessed software planning and discussions taking place in secluded meetings or sessions involving sales teams, account managers, and senior IT managers, but excluding the very people who will be building the software. Regrettably, I’ve sometimes been that IT manager. At its core, software development is a collaborative process that demands consistent and clear communication. This ensures all stakeholders understand what they are building, what they will receive, and the value it will bring.

Another pivotal aspect of Lawson’s approach is framing any piece of work for an engineer as a problem that needs a solution, rather than a task to be completed. Managers frequently fall into the trap of dictating to engineers how to address an issue, rather than allowing engineers to leverage their extensive technical expertise to devise a solution. Managers should pinpoint the problems (or opportunities), while engineers should be entrusted to resolve those problems (or capitalize on the opportunities).

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