It is interesting how even slight changes in the way things are working cause you to re-evaluate your path. When I first started as the manager of my team, the focus really was around, well, learning to be a manager. Even more than that, the nature of the work was very small piecemeal projects, or projects that were very stand alone. This worked to my advantage, as it gave me a chance to focus on being a manager.
This concept is interesting in and of itself. With a great mentor to help me drive in the right direction, I was able to understand and move forward in that direction. Interestingly enough, one of the largest things I got was a chance to learn was how to balance the need to jump in as an IC on occasions to get the job done.
A huge part of this journey was driven by reading and book learnings. As much as you learn on the job, there is a dramatic need to read and understand the state of the world. Anyone that has talked with me about my journey in the last few years will have likely gotten a reading list to go with the conversation. I think this is a super important thing. Reading and keeping up with the concepts that are being revealed is super huge. It is also not enough to just skim the books, you really do have to read them, or in my case, listen to them.
My thoughts as a people manager have been shaped heavily by the following books (in no particular order):
- First, Break All The Rules
- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
- It’s Your Ship by Capt. D. Michael Abrashoff, USN, Ret.
- Team of Teams by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, USA, Ret.
- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
- The Toyota Way by Dr. Jeffrey Liker
- Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars by Patrick Lencioni
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
This habit has really helped me to learn a ton, but even more than that, it has helped me to see patterns in my life. Recently, it became very apparent that there was a shift in the work that needed to be done. First, the business books were really starting to repeat themselves. Each new book explained the same basic concepts in slightly different ways. The a-ha moments got further and further apart. Then, very rapidly, my book list changed dramatically.
So the journey continues, but it is now much more heavily focused on software leadership and architecture instead of general management. While both are super heavily intertwined, I really do see distinct differences. So here comes the change…
In case you are wondering, the next books that ended up on the revised book list:
- Domain-Driven Design by Eric Evans
- Implementing Domain-Driven Design by Vaughn Vernon
- UML Distilled by Martin Fowler
And the list goes on…