Most Recommended Books to Make You a Better Engineering Manager (updated 2023)

I asked over 125 leaders to recommend one book and why. The following books on leadership and management in engineering are the most highly recommended. Read these books if you wish to advance as an engineering manager. Check out the links to the interviews to learn more about the motivations behind each leader’s book recommendation.

Check back for frequent updates!

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change by Camille Fournier

Camille Fournier’s book, The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change, guides tech leaders on how to run their teams well and find their way through the tech industry, which is always changing. Fournier talks about the different levels of management, from individual contributor to executive, and advises on how to get the skills you need for each level. The book also looks at the different roles and responsibilities of the manager, such as hiring, leading, and motivating teams, as well as how to make and keep a healthy and productive work environment. Additionally, the book offers guidance on how to make career progression decisions and deal with common challenges that come with managing teams.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni is about a team of executives struggling to function properly. The team is dysfunctional for five main reasons: lack of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, lack of accountability, and inattention to results. The team must learn to trust each other, deal with conflict constructively, commit to decisions, hold each other accountable, and focus on results.

Key Takeaways

  • Establish trust and build a safe environment: Building trust among team members is essential for creating a successful team. This requires creating a safe environment free of fear, judgment, and criticism.
  • Define team goals and objectives: Teams need to have a clear understanding of their goals and objectives. This helps ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal and that no one is working in isolation.
  • Encourage healthy debate and conflict: Healthy conflict is essential for team success. It encourages creative thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.
  • Hold team members accountable: They need to be held accountable for their actions and decisions. This ensures that everyone does their part to contribute to the team’s success.
  • Celebrate team successes: Celebrating team successes is important for morale and motivation. It reinforces the team’s efforts and encourages them to strive for greatness.

Recommended By

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

Radical Candor: Fully Revised & Updated Edition: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity is a book by Kim Scott that champions a new approach to work relationships: radical candor. Scott says that the key to being a good leader is to combine personal care with direct challenges. This creates a place where team members can grow and do well. The book covers topics such as how to give feedback, how to use praise, and how to create a culture of trust and respect. It also offers techniques for dealing with difficult people and situations. In the end, Scott gives managers a plan for building a better team and a more successful organization.

High Output Management by Andy Grove

High Output Management, written by Andrew S. Grove, is a guide to managing people and projects. It outlines the process of managing people and projects, from setting goals to evaluating performance, and provides advice on how to get the most out of employees. It also covers topics such as delegation, communication, and problem-solving. Also, the book gives managers tools to help them plan, organize, and control their resources. These tools include ways to motivate employees and make decisions. The book talks about how important it is to create a place where people can learn, be creative, and develop new ideas. It also gives practical advice on how to manage teams and projects.

Key Takeaways

  • Set clear objectives and metrics: High output management emphasizes the importance of setting clear objectives and metrics to measure success.
  • Focus on people: High output management emphasizes investing in people to maximize productivity and success.
  • Create an environment of accountability: High-output managers must create an environment of accountability so everyone understands the importance of meeting goals and objectives.
  • Understand and use systems: High output management stresses how important it is to understand and use systems to get the most out of them.
  • Foster collaboration: High output management fosters employee collaboration to encourage innovation and maximize productivity.

Recommended by

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers by L. David Marquet

Turn the Ship Around! is a book about leadership and how to create a more effective and engaged workforce. Marquet argues that the traditional hierarchical leadership model is outdated and that a more collaborative approach is needed to achieve success. He provides readers with practical tools and advice for making this shift in their own organizations.

This book is also featured in Leadership Lessons from the United States Navy Applicable to Engineering Leadership

🧑‍💼 See also, 10 Career Related Books for Software Engineering Individual Contributors

📚 Also created a ManagersClub book club here. Go ahead and join and recommend books.