We get this question a lot.
We’re trying to help with our guide, our blog, and our newsletter, but there’s also plenty of other fantastic stuff out there so we’ve put this list together of our favourite resources for new managers.
We’ve tried to keep it short. Both because new managers don’t have time to plough through ‘10 essential books to make you a better manager’, and because you’ll do a lot of your learning with your team and your peers rather than from reading blog posts.
But when you do want somewhere to turn to for advice, these are all great places to start. We wanted to give you a range of options depending on whether you like to learn from articles, books, following people on social media, or joining communities. There should be something for everyone.
If you’d like more specific recommendations on certain topics, please let us know and we’d be happy to provide them. Similarly, if you have ideas for other resources we should add, let us know!
If you want to read a book on becoming a new manager, this is where we would start.
Camille Fournier is the former Chief Technology Officer of Rent the Runway, but she started as an engineer and worked her way up through the various levels of management. The Manager’s Path is her advice for those also looking to grow as a manager, from your first step through to executive roles. If you don’t work in tech, don’t be put off by the focus on that sector - the vast majority of her advice is applicable to all new managers. It’s gold. There’s no better place to start if you want to read a practical, insightful book on becoming a manager.
Kim Scott led various teams at Google before becoming a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics and Twitter and subsequently a best-selling author with Radical Candor. The book is a refreshingly honest take on running a team. You’ll find yourself nodding your head as she describes all the problems you’re facing at the moment, and her practical tips for solving them. Just adopting her framework of ‘caring personally’ and ‘challenging directly’ will help you find your feet in the role, as will her seventh chapter on having career conversations.
Julie Zhuo joined Facebook in 2006 as an intern before becoming a manager and rising up to be VP of Design. The Making of a Manager is her reflections on taking on her first manager’s job and all the things she wishes she’d been told. The book is friendly and engaging, and you may find it describes situations you’re facing which aren’t covered by either The Manager’s Path or Radical Candor.
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Lara Hogan is a former VP of Engineering and Engineering Director, now management coach and author. Pretty much every one of her blog posts contains useful insights for new managers and you can sign up to receive them in her newsletter.
Pat Kua is a former CTO who also rose through various organisations as a manager and brings that perspective to his coaching workshops and newsletter. Level Up is focussed on tech leaders, but even if you’re not in tech, the general section on Leadership has lots of great advice.
Charlie Warzel is an American journalist and former senior technology writer at Buzzfeed news. He describes his newsletter Galaxy Brain as exploring ‘how people can commandeer once unthinkable amounts of attention and quickly translate it into staggering amounts of power.’ Fortunately for us, he spends a lot of time focussed on the world of work (perhaps not surprising given his upcoming book Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home). Useful for broader contextual discussion of the future of work and how it might affect your team.
Jacob Kaplan-Moss is a software developer and engineering leader, and somehow still manages to regularly publish outstanding leadership articles on his blog. You can sign up for a weekly digest of his writing in a newsletter here.
Places you can find archives of great management advice which you can search for the topics you're interested in.
First Round Capital is a San Francisco-headquarted Venture Capital firm. When they promised to write ‘Not another VC Blog’, we were sceptical, but they have managed to turn the First Round Review into a go-to place for great management advice. In particular, they get fantastic interviews and ask all the right questions to get practical insights from people who’ve been there and done it.
LeadDev is a community of software engineering leaders dedicated to improving management practices through holding events, hosting training, and publishing on these themes. Whilst some of their content is focussed on technical practices, their ‘Team’ stream looks at general people challenges which are applicable to all managers.
Rands in Repose is the home for the writing of ‘Rands’ aka Michael Lopp, an engineer leadeand author of three books on careers and management. There’s over 400 articles on the site, so he’s helpfully provided an introduction here on getting started and how it’s organised.
Cate is an Engineering Director at DuckDuckGo and her blog is reliably great on discussing management challenges we all face and her solutions. Check out her thoughts on remote work and coachability to get started.
Finding the right management advice can be difficult because of the sheer range of situations you might face. Every company and every team is different, and often you won’t be able to find an article about your precise circumstances.
It’s why we recommend new managers try and find a mentor, and talk to their peers, both of whom are likely to have faced similar situations and can answer specific questions. It’s also why we’d recommend joining an online leadership community, and we’ve found none better than the Rands Leadership Slack.
You’ll find over 15,000 leaders from a range of different companies, dedicated to helping each other improve in the role. There’s a channel for discussing pretty much every conceivable part of management, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask #help-and-advice and you’ll swiftly receive several thoughtful answers to consider. We couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
Most of the people we’ve mentioned here are active on twitter where they offer even more insights. We’ve collected them all in a list here, and added a bunch of other people too.
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We’ve compiled a list of questions you can ask your managers and team members to identify the challenges they face, and help you pick the right solutions.