Leadership is like sex. Many people have trouble discussing the subject, but it never fails to arouse intense interest and feelings. - Gerald Weinberg
My favorite software engineering books this year are about leadership.
This year, I wanted to better understand the engineering manager's mindset. What does a manager want to achieve, and how can I help? How can I contribute to the team, more than just writing code?
These three books have profoundly changed how I work.
Becoming A Technical Leader by Gerald Weinberg
Management is a learnable skill to be practised and refined. It was quite a revelation to discover, effective management cannot be achieved with instinct alone.
Gerald Weinberg's definition of leadership changed the way I work. Leadership can be exemplified by anyone in an organisation. His words encouraged me to take greater ownership for every task that came my way, even though I am not yet a manager in title.
High Output Management by Andy Grove
Believe the hype. This is a beautifully written book.
High Output Management is a distillation of management practices at Intel. My favourite sentence of the book is the definition of a manager's output.
The output of a manager is the output of the organisation units under his or her supervision or influence.
Motivating great teams, process optimisation, performance management - everything follows from this sentence. I can't do it justice, you'll have to read the book.
Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
I have worked in stressful environments, but I can't imagine leading a team in a warzone. What motivates soldiers to put their lives at risk for the mission? Incredibly great leadership.
Two former Navy SEALs share management lessons learned on the battlefield, and how they apply to business. Great leadership often means going against instinct. The success of the team matters, not the success of the individual.
Every day, I try to put the success of the team ahead of my own.