Books for 30-something researcher suddenly in a management job
May 20, 2013 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a book for a newly-promoted researcher who isn't used to managing a team?

Hi. I need your insight.

I'm a fellow in my early 30s who works as a psychologist at an AI company. I work with a bunch of hardcore mathematicians and engineers as well as a few folks on the "human side" of the science spectrum.

After a year or so of hard work I recently got promoted. Great. Now I lead a small team of people with diverse backgrounds. Organizationally, I'm all set. I've got a handle on that stuff, thanks to loads of good software out there.

One problem: I don't have the best people skills nor am I a natural leader. Not that I'm shy or introverted or anything, just used to working on my own and letting people do their own thing. Now I see that isn't possible.

There are tons of self-help management guru books out there but so many are soppy gibberish. Can you suggest something that will help me tackle this challenge head-on?
posted by mateuslee to Work & Money (9 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Listen. And ask questions. And listen to the answers.

Never assume people will (not) do something - assumptions are the mother of all f?&*-ups.

If your team is successful they get the praise, if there is a failure you take the responsibility.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:44 AM on May 20, 2013

I have heard good things about First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently. Basically, different people need different management tactics.
posted by jillithd at 6:50 AM on May 20, 2013

Be fair.

That is all.

It goes both ways:
It's fair to treat all employees equally, to not play favorites.
It's fair to employees for you to have clear and clearly-stated expectations.
It's fair to employees for you to be predictable, honest, and as straightforward as possible.
It's fair to expect someone to do the job for which they are being compensated.
It's fair to expect people to accomplish their assigned tasks with minimal supervision.
It's fair to discipline an employee for taking advantage of the team, the company, or you if expectations are clear.
posted by builderofscience at 6:58 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

A fine book that will help.
posted by BenPens at 7:43 AM on May 20, 2013

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a quick, fun read with lots of good info. I've read several books of the type you describe, and this one is the best in my opinion.
posted by LowellLarson at 9:27 AM on May 20, 2013

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. It's best to know how to handle tough situations before they actually come up, so this is a good one.
posted by superfille at 10:12 AM on May 20, 2013

I enjoyed reading The Essential Drucker and picking up copies of Harvard Business Review to catch up on research when I became a manager.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:30 PM on May 20, 2013

Rands in Repose -- good advice from a software engineering manager
posted by sninctown at 6:47 PM on May 20, 2013

I've been managing engineers for over 20 years and I'm an engineer myself.

I think the best book I've seen regarding managing technical people is called Leading Geeks.
posted by elmay at 7:35 AM on May 21, 2013

« Older What are your family-style, urban living life...   |   Car roof rack uses Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.