Recommendations on books for starting in management?
September 24, 2012 7:52 PM   Subscribe

I've been taking on some more responsibility at work with a slight shift towards management, but I feel like I'm in over my head. Can anyone recommend any good books or anything to help me get more up to speed?

We're a tech-focused company, if that helps to focus any recommendations.

Really it's just that I'm used to how we do things on the day-to-day, but I feel a bit lost when it comes to management-esque things. Managing people under me, dealing with coordination, running successful meetings, planning for projects, that sort of thing - I just feel like I should know more. Are there any books or blogs that I should read? Maybe podcasts or something like that? I'm not really in a position to go get an MBA right now, for what it's worth.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I found Behind Closed Doors to be pretty useful when I was in a similar situation.
posted by xil at 7:56 PM on September 24, 2012

Check out the Manager Tools Podcasts, I found them incredibly helpful.
posted by SNACKeR at 8:13 PM on September 24, 2012 [9 favorites]

Seconding the Manager Tools podcasts. They are amazing, even if you're not a manager. Their podcasts on running meeting efficiently are excellent.
posted by Ostara at 8:57 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Someone once recommended that I read Leadership Jazz and Leadership is an Art, both by Max DePree, and spoke highly about the author's philosophy.

I never read them, because I am not a leader.
posted by lulu68 at 9:32 PM on September 24, 2012

Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human and Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Sartre's No Exit.
posted by jingzuo at 11:04 PM on September 24, 2012

I love The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels. Very good advice of understanding the mindset of people you'll be managing and ways to make the transition successful.
posted by 26.2 at 11:54 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Manager Tools. It gives you the basics to build from.

And the best part: it's not focused on vague "vision" statements - honestly, if you don't feel comfortable running a meeting, having a vision isn't going to help. Instead, it's focused on specific actions you can take, like having an agenda for a meeting, things to say to keep meetings on time, and what meetings you should have with your team and what the agenda for those 1-on-1 meetings should be. I would start with those, they're pure gold for a new manager.
posted by Tehhund at 11:05 AM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

One thing that is big where I work is Earned Value Management. If your company uses it to track progress of projects, you should learn the basics; they are not that tough. The cost variance is pretty easy to comprehend- it basically compares the cost of the work performed to the estimated cost of that work. Schedule variance is a little trickier, but basically it's a comparison of work performed with the amount of work scheduled, but the units are not time, they are dollars.

Anyway, EVM contains the underpinnings of what managers are primarily concerned with: Whether you are on time and under cost. EVM provides the foundation of how you quote new projects and keep track of their progress.

If your company uses a different discipline, you may want to find out how they do their business planning and learn more about it.
posted by Doohickie at 11:10 AM on September 25, 2012

related thread.
posted by dog food sugar at 1:34 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Managing Humans, by Michael Lopp (author of the Rands in Repose blog) is excellent. I found it great as a new manager not in a tech field; for someone in Lopp's field, I imagine it would be an even better fit.
posted by impluvium at 3:13 AM on October 9, 2012

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