Resilient Management by Lara Hogan is a short and useful read for engineering managers who want to think more systematically about how they support their team. Lara covers concepts like how to connect with a new team, how to encourage growth in your teammates, and how to communicate difficult news. This is a blog+ book: most of the material here has appeared previously in Lara’s blog or newsletter, but for the book it has been cleaned up and organized together in a coherent fashion that makes it greater than the sum of its parts.
If you’ve followed my newsletter for a while, you’ll have seen me link to Lara’s work on a regular basis. Lara’s strength as a teacher is building meaningful exercises for thinking through abstract topics, and that plays out here. Almost every piece of advice and insight comes with a suggestion on how to start implementing it, or an exercise to help you think deeper about yourself or your situation. I’ve found her leadership colors and her MadLibs worksheet for leadership philosophy particularly helpful for me.
In addition to the helpful exercises, the highlights of the book for me were Lara’s look at the BICEPS model for understanding people’s needs at work, the way she structured her book around a groups evolution over time, and the chapter on communication plans. I’ve made notes to reference each of those areas the next time I hit a relevant situation.
Overall I’d recommend this book to pretty much any early-career engineering manager. If you’re not already familiar with Lara’s work, there should be some fantastic new ideas for you in here. If you have followed it, I recommend buying out of appreciation, and to get the concepts bundled in a nice cleanly organized packages. These are ideas worth paying for.
Resilient Management is available from A Book Apart