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.
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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.
- Being a Great Coach with Anjuan Simmons Engineering Coach at Help Scout
- Interview with Katie Womersley, Director of Engineering at Buffer
- Gergely Németh, Engineering Manager at Uber
- Interview with Sue Nallapeta, Sr. Director, Engineering/Acting Head of Engineering at Zoosk
- Interview with Jeba Singh Emmanuel, Engineering Manager at Linkedin
- Interview with Karen Cohen, Engineering Manager, and Product Architect at Wix.com
- Interview with Patrick Joyce, Director of Engineering at Stitch Fix
- Interview with Daniel Dvorkin, Director of Engineering at Modern Tribe
- Interview with Bella Kazwell, Web Engineering Lead at Asana
- Interview with Rama Kulasekaran, Sr. Director of Engineering at Optum (UnitedHealth Group)
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.
- 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.
- Interview with Yagiz Erkan, VP of Technology at Motive Retail
- Interview with Natasha Vinnik, Senior Engineering Manager at Google
- Interview with Margaret Schmitt, Senior Director of SBU Solutions Enablement at ANSYS
- Interview with Matt Newkirk, Engineering Manager at Etsy
- Interview with Ashok Ramaraj, Senior Engineering Manager at Sam’s Club (Walmart)
- Interview with Elaine Montilla, Assistant Vice President and CIO for Information Technology at The Graduate Center, CUNY
Radical Candor: Fully Revised & Updated Edition: 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.
- Interview with Kate Wardin, Senior Engineering Manager at Target
- Interview with Lavanya Ramani, Software Development Manager at Amazon
- Interview with Allison McMillan, Engineering Manager, GitHub
- Interview with Rich Archbold, Senior Director of Engineering at Intercom
- Interview with Lei Yang, VP of Engineering at Quora
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.
- 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.
- Interview with Chuck Groom, Director of Engineering at VTS
- Interview with Dr. James Stanier, VP of Engineering at Brandwatch
- Interview with Allen Cheung, Senior Director of Engineering at Affirm
- Interview with Tom Bartel Germany-based software developer, engineering manager, speaker, and author
- Interview with Raylene Yung, Head of Payments at Stripe
- Interview with Akshaya Srivatsa, Director of Engineering at Bolt
- Interview with Pei-Chin Wang, Senior Director of Product at Redfin
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.
- Engineering Leadership with Chintan Shah, VP Engineering at Collective & ex-Uber
- Interview with Mike Hansen, Head of Product Development and Engineering for Sonatype
- Interview with Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range
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 Amazon.com book club here. https://www.amazon.com/abc/detail/amzn1.club.bookclub.b6c085e1-c082-327a-f29a-5626beb436db?ref_=abc_aa_bdp_r_ds_imw_ibc Go ahead and join and recommend books.