Being a DOD publication, it's in the public domain: https://usacac.army.mil/sites/default/files/misc/doctrine/CD...
I can't stress enough how excellent it is.
State what you, as the leader, are trying to achieve, and why ('the big picture')
State what you want the subordinate to achieve
Define the resources available to the subordinate, and any constraints
Say how you want progress / issues to be reported
You don’t define how the subordinate should carry out the task – if they are competent and you trust them, they should be able to figure this out themselves.
[Edit] - the military distinction between command and control is also relevant to the civilian distinction between leadership and management. Paraphrasing slightly: Command is getting people to do something. Control is stopping them from doing something else.
I would argue that this isn't always the case. When tasking a subordinate you should also consider where they fit in a matrix of competency and confidence. If they are competent and confident in their ability to carry out the task then what you described is fine. If they aren't competent I'd give them the task but keep a very close eye on progress and be ready to step in with feedback before things spiral out of control. If they're competent but lack confidence I'd probably have them walk through their plan with me first. This can help them feel more confident in the approach that they planned to take. If they are neither competent or confident in their ability to perform the task I'd question why they're being assigned it.
I was taught a lot of bullshit in my Army days but the definition on the first page of that book is seared into my brain. It’s succinct and I still refer to it when evaluating myself and my efficacy as a leader. It’s a great little manual to start with, especially when most books on leadership are 90% marketing garbage.
"Because subordinates learn best by doing, leaders should be willing to take prudent risks and accept the possibility that less-experienced subordinates will make mistakes. Risk assessment and risk management help determine existing risks and mitigation strategies. If subordinate leaders are to grow and develop trust, it is best to let them learn through experience. Effective leaders allow space for subordinates to experiment within the bounds of intent-based orders and plans."
Good ones are also:
"Duty" (Robert Gates)
"Call Sign Chaos" (Mattis)
The one about Mattis has a very long list of book recommendations at the end.
Leading troops in combat is as much a tactical challenge as it is a logistical challenge. As cheesy as it sounds, leadership skills developed prior to and during combat are directly translatable to the corporate world. A great military leader is equally capable of being a great corporate leader. There is nothing specifically in the Army leadership style that could not be applied to a corporate setting.
But people are people, communication is communication and at the end of the day, regardless of what else they are, armed forces are large complicated organizations. It would be foolish to assume that because your organization(s) have different goals and mandates, they have nothing to learn about communication, leadership, training, etc. from decades (at minimum) of well documented armed forces experience.
> The principal audience for ADRP 6-22 is all leaders, military and civilian
Something I've enjoyed as well which is a bit shorter and maybe quicker to digest is the chapter discussing leadership in the Art of Scalability https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Scalability-Architecture-Organi.... The authors have a military background no doubt influenced by DOD doctrine.
Are there any specific parts you'll recommend? Or anything I should skip?
Regarding skipping, I can't recall anything that's counterproductive to read, but it's possible I skipped those parts, and, so, can't remember them. I wouldn't hesitate to jump into sections that seem especially relevant to your situation, and then jump back out.
In terms of parts to recommend, I thought Chapter 6 had especially practical/applicable content for me as a manager. Within that chapter, I felt that the "Counseling, Coaching, and Mentoring" section (beginning at section 6-52, through Table 6-3) is especially pertinent, as it laid out those particular roles and responsibilities far better than any of the internal resources I was given. The lines between those roles at startups are often muddy, if they're even laid out at all, and there's a lot of great work that senior engineers / tech leads can do to develop junior engineers they work with, outside the normal manager / IC dynamic.
* Abusive behaviors—includes behaviors that involve a leader exceeding the boundaries of their authority by being abusive, cruel, or degrading others. These behaviors are contrary to what is required for the moral, ethical, and legal discharge of their duty. Specific examples include, but
are not limited to, bullying, berating others for mistakes, creating conflict, ridiculing others
because of the authority held, domineering, showing little or no respect to others, insulting or
belittling individuals, condescending or talking down to others, or retaliating for perceived slights
* Self-serving behaviors—includes behaviors that result from self-centered motivations on the part of the leader, where they act in ways that seek primarily to accomplish their own goals and needs before those of others. Specific examples include, but are not limited to, displaying arrogance,
lacking concern or empathy for others, taking credit for others' work, insisting on having their way, distorting information to favor own ideas, exaggerating accomplishments or abilities, putting own work and accomplishments ahead of others' and the mission, displaying narcissistic
tendencies, or exhibiting a sense of entitlement.
* Erratic behaviors—includes behaviors related to poor self-control or volatility that drive the leader
to act erratically or unpredictably. Specific examples include, but are not limited to, blaming
others, deflecting responsibility, losing temper at the slightest provocation, behaving
inconsistently in words and actions, insecurity, or being unapproachable.
* Leadership incompetence—includes ineffective leadership behaviors that result from a lack of
experience or willful neglect. Incompetence can include failure to act or acting poorly. While
incompetent leadership can arise from reasons unrelated to counterproductive leadership, it is
included as a category often associated with arrogant or abusive leaders who are not aware of their
shortcomings and do not seek to correct their shortcomings. Conversely, some leaders lacking
competence are aware of their shortcomings, which lead them to behave in counterproductive or
negative ways to cover up their shortcomings or mistakes. Specific examples include, but are not
limited to, unengaged leadership, being passive or reactionary, neglecting leadership
responsibilities, displaying poor judgment, poorly motivating others, withholding encouragement,
failing to clearly communicate expectations, or refusing to listen to subordinates.
* Corrupt behaviors—includes behaviors that violate explicit Army standards, regulations, or
policies. Violations may range from behaviors subject to administrative discipline to criminal
actions subject to discharge or incarceration. Specific examples include, but are not limited to,
dishonesty, misusing government resources or time, creating a hostile work environment,
EEO/SHARP violations, or violating Section 3583 (Requirement of Exemplary Conduct), Title
10, United States Code, AR 600-100, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
It's very short, about ten lines, but it contains all that you need to know. The final verse, especially, destroys or subsumes pretty much all concepts of leadership.
Consider a kind of hierarchy:
"...The best leaders are those the people hardly know exist.
The next best is a leader who is loved and praised.
Next comes the one who is feared.
The worst one is the leader that is despised.
If you don’t trust the people,
they will become untrustworthy.
The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly.
When she has accomplished her task,
the people say, “Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!”
- J H McDonald (Trans.)
Also Extreme Ownership  and Dichotomy of Leadership  by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.
All of these books had tremendous impact on me as a leader and I highly recommend them.
Perhaps my view is tainted having been through mandatory military service, and hated every minute of it. But I guess I simply “don’t get it”
It is primarily about owning responsibility yourself, and not externalizing blame. Even CEO and CTOs are prone to deflecting blame when there's politics and external parties involved.
All of the case studies show how managers suffer from defense mechanisms and logical fallacies that are harmful rather than helpful.
It also talks about the dangers of operating in a high complexity environment and the need to develop an understandable and legible method of communication.
* He says that leaders aren’t trusted implicitly in the Seal teams either, btw, and it's part of the job of the leader to build rapport with their teams, sell them on the plan, and make sure everyone understands the higher intent, if the team is really to be effective rather than dysfunctional. (this comes later in the book).
The war stories are what folks seem to focus on here, but I feel those are there mostly for entertainment, in addition to an example of the underlying value it's trying to demonstrate.
That said, the book really boils down to continual repetition of a few core points over and over. That may be necessary to drive the relatively few points home, with even fewer actually changing their behavior.
This is deliberately not an academic-level treatise on leadership. It is a challenge to accept the most fundamental challenges of responsibility - how many managers have you met which fail to do that?
It’s the leadership equivalent of that Not Giving a Fuck book.
In short, these things sell because American business leaders fetishize these sort of ex-SEAL types.
It's all a little much for me. Not to mention unfortunate, because the sort of leadership that works best in the military is decidedly not the sort of leadership that works best in business. The military demands that soldiers immediately and unquestioningly follow commands given by their superiors (particularly during combat). Lives are literally at stake, so any hesitation for even a moment could spell doom.
Meanwhile, in business, I strongly believe leaders need to be in more of a team-servant role -- yes, motivating, providing vision, etc., but also cultivating a sense of "your voice matters," if that makes sense. Being a 'force multiplier' in business requires a different mentality than in war zones.
This doesn't jive with my understanding of US military (or human nature). Out of combat, a top-down command and control hierarchy leads to poor decision making by troops on the ground. A general can't and shouldn't make decisions on day-to-day operations at the platoon-level.
In combat, certainly the stakes are higher, and lives are on the line. If anything, that means trust plays MORE of a role than hierarchy. If a leader I don't trust tells me to do something that seems wrong and reckless enough to get me killed, I'm not going to do it. I'd rather get court martialed back home than die in the dirt. It's all about trust. If the leader has earned trust, I'll know that they have the bigger picture, and what seems wrong to me now makes sense in some way I can't see from where I am. And of course, it's not all black and white, these are matters of degree, including measuring the desperation and force in the tone of an order.
I don't think the way you've phrased this is quite accurate, although I understand what you're getting at.
In the book the author discusses how it is the responsibility of leaders to plan missions and to ensure that all voices and concerns are heard during planning. It's also the leader's responsibility to ensure that a decision about how to proceed is reached. Once a decision is reached though the expectation is that it will be carried out without question (I don't have any quotes handy unfortunately).
This sounds awfully similar to Amazon's principle of disagree and commit. I think this principle is congruent with the way the way the book suggests that leaders should operate.
From my own personal experience I think this is actually a really important principle. I find nothing more frustrating in a team environment than when one member of the team disagrees with a decision and decides to take it upon themselves to head off in their own chosen direction. It's very frustrating to have team members not following a plan.
Relevant David Brent quote:
"Does a struggling salesman start turning up on a bicycle? No, he turns up in a newer car - perception, yeah? They got to trust me - I’m taking these guys into battle, yeah? And I’m doing my own stapling."
When you’re an entrepreneur and have a small team, each of them may have a family. As the leader you are responsible for running a profitable company that can pay its employees so their families can eat.
At the large company I work for my team’s product is B2B. When we go down, other businesses go down. The number of people affected is very high. Treating every incident like someone’s business is dependent on you and they have put their trust in you to support them is very sobering.
He’s the classic example of fake it till you make it in modern America. A guy who makes flashy viral videos, has zero actual experience of leading organizations or teams, yet someone has acquired some guru like reputation at a genius leader.
Still, a great example of marketing and proof that fluff sells and is probably useful for many.
Taking him at his word on several of his talks, he leads a team right now. Presumably one focused on advancing your second point: his marketing of himself.
> His advice doesn’t say anything new and is usually extremely banal.
The corollary being they’re banal to you, cue tangential XKCD: https://www.xkcd.com/1053/
Note I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you. He also seems to me like someone who teaches what he learned by theory, not practice. However, I do believe his intentions are genuine, that he wants to make the workplace better for everyone, and that his points are actionable and positive. Contrast that to someone like Tony Robbins, which I view as little more than a scammer that wants to trick you into thinking anyone can be successful at anything if they just believe in themselves and pay him hefty sums to attend his seminars.
I've read well and deeply across a broad spectrum of classic philosophy and psychology and I think Simon Sinek is a dilettante and basic thinker. I'm allowed to have that opinion regardless of whether I have written books or not.
I had just finished (Finite and Infinite Games) by James P. Carse. He normally does a great job distilling information from mulitple sources, but in this case it seemed like he added nothing, condensed nothing, and in my opinion came really close to just rewriting the first 1/2 of someone else's book and calling it a new thing.
I'm not calling it plagiarism, he's obviously too smart to cross that line. But if you read the books you will see what I mean.
You get the same information by watching videos of his talks, with the advantage they are free, more direct, and take less of your time. Plus, they’re released sparingly and have quite a bit of repetition with slow changes between them, so the points get to sink in over time.
Like - for all possible values of X, if X is what I want someone to do, how do I communicate that so people (a) understand that I want X from them and (b) aren’t offended and understand that it is meant kindly/charitably (which it really is, I often just don’t know how to say so without sounding weird or changing the value of X).
Here’s a small example scenario from home life: my son was crying in his room. I was in the middle of something but wanted to take care of him and let my wife rest. She got up and started down the hall. I said “I was going to get it” expecting her to say “OK” and come back. Instead she sighed and did it anyway, and later said she felt frustrated that I made an excuse instead of either taking action or not. I explained to her what I wanted and asked what I should have said instead, and she said to say “Please stop. I’ve got this.” Next time I said that instead, and was amazed how different her response was - she was happy/grateful to let me take cars of it.
I guess I need a book full of “scripts” that would help me communicate both text and subtext accurately. Any resource suggestions?
The "Please stop. I've got this." is an action-oriented message that is conveyed before the action. It says "I would like for you to do X because of Y." It is conveyed in an imperative structure, which is used for a command or a request. "Please stop." <- request. "I've got this." <- followed by a rationale for your request. The request is conveyed first, followed by the rationale for why you are making it. "Do this. Here is why." The "I've got this" also carries succinct subtext of "I agree with you that our son crying is a problem that someone should take care of, I just think it should be me instead of you."
Conversely, when you say "I was going to get it," it is a declarative message rather than an imperative message. It does not tell your wife what you would like for her to do. It is merely additional data that does not help her make better decisions, which means it is mostly useless for her. An extreme comparative example is looking at a person who has just burned their hand at the stove and then saying "that stove appears hot."
Humans don't like to receive an array of "reasons" data before they've received the "request." We don't like statements in the form of "because of Y, Z, A, B, C... please do X." Our subconscious can typically detect that we are receiving a stream of "reasons" and we are starting to brace for the "request" (because the request might be unpleasant).
People like to know what others expect of them. Your comment says you would like to know what your wife expects of you. When you follow the <command> <rationale for command> order of operations you are giving people what they want (what you expect of them) followed by your reason for wanting that. When you go in the opposite order, you are conveying the converse: "I want something of you but I haven't told you what it is yet."
If you're looking for office communications, I've heard good things about "Difficult Conversations":
This can irritate people because it comes off as trying to claim credit for intent to do the task without actually doing it.
While "Please stop. I've got this" is the best phrasing because its what your wife has requested as well as what the other commenter stated, I imagine you would have still got a fine result if you used present or future tense. "I"m getting it" or "I'll get it".
Tenses, and other grammar on their level, is definitely something you will be able to find scripts for.
All of the books above cover some aspect of what you want but don’t seem to cover the whole picture. Further, a lot of it comes down to shared mental models. If you are coming from the perspective of action taking then the other person also assumes that you will take the action. I think Leader Eat Last explains this brilliantly and actually significantly changed the way I am trying to approach leadership as well as how I work with other people in general.
We learn to perform by practicing the basics in any field.
Leadership Step by Step https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Step-Become-Person-Others/... gives a set of 20 exercises that teach the basics of leading yourself and others. If you practice, you'll develop the skills, experiences, and beliefs of an effective leader. Other books are like music appreciation. This book is like learning to play the piano.
Written by a PhD in physics (me) then started several companies, got an MBA, and teaches leadership at NYU to stellar reviews. http://joshuaspodek.com/reviews-leadership-step-step
Leadership Step by Step: https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Step-Become-Person-Others/...
If you read it, I hope you'll share your thoughts on it, especially if you do the exercises.
I think the primary difference is what point in their careers the book was written. Julie wrote the book early in her career while Camille has been in upper management for some time meaning that she's more distant from the challenges of becoming a first time manager.
And despite Julie's only experience being at Facebook, I still found the advice widely applicable.
I think all non-managers should read it as well as it will give you some clarity on what you should expect from your manager and what their day-to-day is like.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
The Phoenix Project
Don't worry about "tech specific". Core leadership principles are universal. The first two books on the list show the principles, and the mindset you should approach them with to be successful.
The 3rd book will help set the tone for leading in a modern tech environment, and what kind of business decisions you should prioritize.
No matter how good your communication/leadership skills are, your team will be severely handicapped if they are working in an inefficient/limiting environment.
Coming at the same lessons from a different perspective, I have also found "Turn The Ship Around!" to be a very good resource.
Goldratt's "The Goal" and its sequels are interesting reading, but please, please internalize the principles he was arguing from for the theory of constraints before trying to apply it to software. Otherwise you end up with "The Pheonix Project" (whose author is apparently making a nice living as a snake oil process consultant, according to friends who have dealt with his appearance in companies) which is the "software factory" mess of the 1980's rewarmed and shoved out the door again. Rather, go read Deming's "The New Economy" (just ignore the section on intrinsic/extrinsic motivation).
If you read farther in Goldratt, the sequels to "The Goal", he refines the notion of constraints in very interesting ways that leave the factory floor. I don't think the author of the Phoenix Project ever got that.
This is ofen true in business software.
If you want to optimise a learning process, The Principles of Product Development Flow is more relevant.
The two books (The Goal vs The Principles of Product Development Flow) give very different, seemingly opposite advice.
There's the People Skill bundle: https://leanpub.com/b/peopleskillssoftbutdifficult
with the books: Are Your Lights On?, What Did You Say? The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback, Exploring Requirements One, Exploring Requirements Two, Becoming a Change Artist, More Secrets of Consulting, and Becoming a Technical Leader
But maybe the better for you are his classic The Psychology of Computer Program (to understand the mind of programmers) https://leanpub.com/thepsychologyofcomputerprogramming
Becoming a Technical Leader (to grow to a leadership position) https://leanpub.com/becomingatechnicalleader
Managing Teams Congruently (to manage groups) https://leanpub.com/managingteamscongruently
This book is about the lessons learned on leadership by two Navy Seal Officers and how they are applied in business. It learned me to take ownership on what is happening, always work together, keep it simple, focus on a single priority, and give ownership.
Turn the ship around! by L. David Marquet
This book tells the story of a submarine captain that turns his subordinates into leaders and his submarine goes on becoming the best submarine in the US Navy. It learned me to move authority to information, train competence, and the power of clear communication.
You can find more good books at https://www.norberhuis.nl/books/
I think the best book on the topic as I think you mean it is High Output Management by Andy Grove. It’s a classic. Incredibly well written. Direct.
From there, I’d actually take a pivot and read MCDP 1 Warfighting, which is concise, brilliant, generally applicable, and completely aligned with the thinking of Grove. Along the same lines, I’d consider reading about OODA (I like “Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War” but not strictly necessary to read an entire biography). I think then you start to see that “Management” began to mean something particular in the post-war era for those who could see it, that it’s been lost in most organizations. Agile, lean, blah blah blah is all sort of derived from here.
Then get some conditioning on how it all goes wrong, for which I would suggest the classic “The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering”, which is generally applicable.
Then personally, I era toward thinking about organizations that have accomplished great things, so suggest “Creativity, Inc”, “Doing the Impossible: George E. Mueller & the Management of NASA's Human Spaceflight Program”, and books of those type.
What's interesting is that the author have a data oriented strategy to find a good definition of a leader: he processed a lot of data to find which teams had really exceptionnal success IN THE HISTORY OF ALL SPORTS.
When he found the 8 teams with the most exceptionnal success, he looked for what they share. He found that all of those exceptionnal team success coincide with the arrival and departure of a captain.
Then he looked for shared trait between all those captain. What he found is the best definition of a leader.
- "Managing Humans" by Michael Lopp very insightful and easy to read.
- "Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations" by Dr Nicole Forsgren brings a long research on how to organize teams for success.
- "The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change" by Camille Fournier which I especially recommend for new managers.
Lastly, and this time not tech-specific, but by far my best read of 2019:
"Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell" written by Eric Schmidt & others.
Who talks little,
They will say,
When your work is done,
And your aim fulfilled,
“We did it ourselves.”'
- Lao Tse, quoted in 'Becoming a Technical Leader'
I heartily second 'Becoming a Technical Leader.' The exercises there are designed to get you to think about and grow in the situation that you are currently in, so the book will be a perennial.
I'd add that Weinberg also produced a four-volume series, 'Quality Software Management', where he sums up all he learned about project management in his programming, management and consulting careers. He later republished the material in a series of smaller eBooks  at LeanPub.
I know of no better written resources for people who want to learn to manage software development in a way that accomplishes the technical tasks while respecting the people who do the work.
I'm of course biased, but I do feel it's turning out to be a good resource. Feedback is always welcome!
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek -> https://www.amazon.com/Leaders-Eat-Last-Together-Others/dp/B...
Unlike many books on leadership, this one is specific about the challenges of leading a technical team:
* Carving out maker vs manager time
* "Code reviewing" your management decisions with your teammates
* How to delegate without losing visibility or quality
It's written in that infuriating cutesy techy-language that seems to infuse a lot of the "hipper" books of this genre but there really is some good advice in there.
FYI these are the guys that did Subversion, which was a pretty successful project for a while, back in the day. This same writing style pervades the SVN docs as well. Yeuch.
In the same vein, I also enjoyed "rework" by Jason Fried  though that's more about modern work, than purely management. Also kind of "hip" in style, but not so insufferable ;-)
Happy to see I'm not the only curmudgeon around here. I'd say this trend is at its most loathsome when employed by big corporates - it's as if everyone is so terrified of being mischaracterised as old or uncool (daddio) that noone is willing to point out how facile, affected and obnoxious this type of language is.
Imho one of the best books out there on the topic.
Also: “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”
Beyond managing teams, you probably will need to cope with politics as well. “The 48 Laws of Power” are a good start...
It is also worth understanding how asymmetry works in the business world: give Taleb’s “Antifragile”
I think managing teams has always to be seen in the culture of the respective company. Good managers make sure they position their teams for high-impact (depending on what high impact is), get the resources they need and the credit they deserve. All that has almost 0 to do with how to lead people but will probably determine success like no other factor...
HN post about this book recently: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21662941
But fundamentally its about management culture, and what factors distinguished well-run organizations from dysfunctional ones.
I'm not 100% sold on it being correct, but it does give you a framework to think within when you're working with other people, no matter which culture you're from.
Forbes have a decent write-up:
Leadership is not an activity or an action you can mimic, it it is an effect. Most books are the stories people tell afterwards about how virtuous they were and they call that leadership. Jeffery Pfeffer says this specifically as well.
Pfeffers books on management provide the insight into the dynamics leadership emerges from. His triad of, "performance, credentials, and relationships," that describe power in a situation also describe the necessary factors we look back on as leadership.
I like Jocko Willnick's whole attitude about ownership, respect, delegation, and working with people to leverage their skills to achieve outcomes. He says the hierarchy in the military isn't as much of a factor as how you relate to your team and the world, but I suspect Pfeffer would disagree in that its hierarchy and training culture provides the credential piece in his triad, where in business, that's more dynamic.
There are lots of good books about leadership, but reading them without having read Pfeffer's "Power.." is exploring the territory without the map, imo.
Some of the comments in this thread say that military orders and life and death situations don't apply in the business world. But that isn't what this book is about, the advice is really the opposite of giving orders the must be followed without question. And the lessons are explained in ways that clearly relate to business management.
I really enjoy this subject and read a lot about it. My favorite books so far are:
- Radical Candor
-- Gives a great framework for candid conversations and empathy which IMO are the most important thing! Clear #1 in my list.
- Leading by Alex Ferguson
-- A great successful leader in another area - Soccer - that had many years building effective teams. It's incredible how many concepts can be mapped over, he talks for example on how having "rockstars" in a team that aren't team players isn't worth it.
- Ride of a lifetime by Bob Iger
-- It's mostly a biography of Disney's most successful CEO, I thought it was very authentic and gave good advices on how to deal with creative people, empathy, setting goals and navigating hard situations (compartmentalizing)
- Creativity Inc Amy / Ed
-- Pixar's president biography on how to manage creative teams, it is a bit repetitive but it is golden! Lots of good ideas and insightful chapters that make you think about how to build a successful culture.
- The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders
-- IMO a bit shallow compared to the other books I mentioned but it was a pleasant read.
General Management -
High Output Management by Andrew Grove
Visibility and Alignment -
Measure What Matters by John Doerr
Understanding People and Teams -
Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson
I run a free mentoring service for managers, and most (but not all) tend to come from the tech side of the world. My sessions are 45 minutes long, and I did over 120 in 2019.
I’m currently on hiatus till January as I just had a baby boy I’m spending time with (actually sleeping on me as I type this out!), but feel free to grab some time in January if you’d like to talk to someone live.
A lot of people in comments below have talked about struggling with the “How” when it comes to taking the concepts they’ve learned and putting them into practice. This is the value of a live conversation with another human being, where we can talk through specific examples, play around with the scenarios, and either prepare for a future challenge, or come up with a plan to address the current one head on.
Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap and Others Don't
The Goal: A process of Continuous Improvement
Team of Teams
Strategy that Works: Bridging the Stategy to Execution Gap
There isn't a single book that will teach you everything you need to know, but these 5 books taken together will cover nearly everything. The points I suggest paying the most attention to are level 5 leadership, the hedgehog concept, the flywheel concept, Kaizen style continuous improvement, how to organize groups of teams to avoid micromanaging, and how to work with a company culture to make decisions supported by real data that tells you what the most effective decisions would be and how to achieve this by choosing concepts to promote to employees in order to guide their decision making.
This book has allowed me to understand what the people around me are saying, without even saying a word!
"Read this book and send your nonverbal intelligence soaring. Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence officer and a recognized expert on nonverbal behavior, explains how to "speed-read" people: decode sentiments and behaviors, avoid hidden pitfalls, and look for deceptive behaviors. You'll also learn how your body language can influence what your boss, family, friends, and strangers think of you."
Read and memorize the above.
There is a whole lot of BS in the Leadership Industry and we should first educate ourselves on the realities. Start with Jeffrey Pfeffer's "Leadership BS".
The above same charge of BS can also be laid at the door of of various Management "theories". A good antidote is Ted Stephenson's "Management: A political activity".
Leadership/Management is more about understanding People/Organizational psychology and behaviours and not "feel good" theories.
- Book: The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker: I think this is an excellent book to teach the part of the brain that wants to execute to think more strategically and concentrate on the leadership side.
- Podcast: Modern CTO: This podcast has lots of interviews CTO's from all kinds of companies. It's pretty casual and entertaining but also seems to always motivate me to be a better leader.
Read biographies on others:
Washington: A Life
Fighter Pilot (Robin Olds)
Anyone you admire - read about them - find out what was good and what was bad.
Mattis's new book is good: Call Sign Chaos.
This book is not very big but is exceptionally dense and easy to read. I found a lot of useful information that I apply to my daily life - reflection, being authentic, allowing oneself to make mistakes and much more.
I reread it three times already and I always found new ideas.
(As a technical guy) I developed a great passion for philosophy and arts in general thanks to his book.
Also read things written by great leaders. i.e. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
One thing that has always stayed with me about leadership is his five traits that define a great leader.
And on a side note, I love seeing the increased submissions around leadership!
What are good books on leadership that are written by people who have actual experience of being great leaders?
Most books on leadership seem to be written by people who have no experience of leadership, they just know how to market their books.
We use many books, but my favorite is 5 dysfunctions of a team.
After that is first break all the rules
Both of these are extremely practical and give a model for how to operate on a daily basis.
While not necessarily a “tech” book, the parallels to leading high performing teams are incredible. For me, this was the book that changed the way I think about leading my team.
- The Art of the Advantage (33 stratagems)
- Winning By Jack Welch
- Tribal Leadership
- Creativity Inc
- The Lean Startup (~leadership in the face of uncertainty)
is pretty good on this topic.