This is a quick little post I've been wanting to write about books that have influenced me the most while learning about leadership.
Leadership is not an easy one. In the past 2 years, one extra dimension to the word I have added is the handling of emotions. More specifically, what's the role emotions play in our workplace and how to deal/react to them.
I still have plenty to learn and there are many books about that same combo (leadership + emotions) that are stacked in my Goodreads Want to Read list for some time now.
Now, to the list!
7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change
So what makes this book great?
- I like the statement that change is a social event. And that people in an organization change because they learn through social interactions. A common mistake is to relate change, to environment tweaking, new processes or extra motivation. The book provides many stories around failure to trigger change.
- The reinforcement of congruence in the workplace. Developing congruence in a team is a precursor to developing empathy. Having empathy leads to understanding and learning, for example, what people fear and need to overcome at work.
- Motivation to start experimenting. The definition of an experiment in the books is: easy trials, without permission, inexpensive and with fast feedback. Also, treat failed experiments with lots of curiosity.
It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
I'm a huge fan of Basecamp and what they preach and say about work environments. To me, this book is like a bunch of tweets and blog posts condensed in a short bible.
What makes this book great?
- A different approach to hire and evaluate people. Instead of considering previous qualifications, consider current abilities.
- A description of a reasonable place to work. Meaning, stop caring about hours tracked, create benefits that impact the employee instead of the company, eliminate as much as possible the expectation of instant communication and free up more time for focused work inside your team.
- A different attitude towards projects, deadlines, and feature definitions.
High Output Management
I saved this one for last. It's a true classic and it doesn't get old.
Before I read it and because of the title, I thought this book was going to be very technical and Intel specific. On the contrary, it's a fuel for motivation and how to get the best out of a team.
What makes this book great?
- There's a wide range of stories and methods to provide feedback to your teammates. One really hard thing I constantly fight with is how to facilitate and make it easier for someone to chat about what’s going on and what’s bothering him/her.
- Best practices when scaling a team. Ranging from who to hire, when to make decisions and how defined processes become critical for training purposes.
- Andy's experience as Intel's CEO and his thoughts around becoming a role model and being optimistic.
I love this quote from the book.
In order to build anything great, you have to be an optimist, because by definition you are trying to do something that most people would consider impossible.