Book review: Resilient management
Author: Lara Hogan | Purchase the book
“Resilient management” focuses on explaining the intricacies of being a good first-line manager with a lot of practical advice. I particularly like the way the thinking is structured making it easier to remember various ideas described in the book.
The main thing that this book does is provides a structured way of thinking about management and different stages that a team goes through from the time it’s formed until the time the team starts demonstrating consistently high performance. There are also a lot of small ideas that changed the way I think, which should result in me becoming a better manager.
Your first team is formed of your peers and not your direct reports
This was a non-obvious point to me. I used to think that direct reports (or the team which you spend most of your time with) form the first team, but this book suggests otherwise. It makes sense though. You will work with and learn from your peers the most.
Learning takes low ego
It is an important part of what makes someone a good learner. I’ve experienced it first-hand, but never would have mentioned it as being an important part of the process to someone who is looking to get better. The other parts include the right amount of new challenges, space to reflect and brainstorm as well as clear and timely feedback.
When aligning people identify areas or decisions they might disagree with
When you do this, you can preempt issues by focusing on them beforehand and talking to people individually where necessary.
Different questions trigger different responses
“Why” questions make people feel judged. Link to “Coaching Habit” book - you don’t need to know the context if you are not trying to solve the problem. “How” questions jump into problem solving mode. You don’t need them if you are coaching. If you are using “Why” or “How” questions you are likely in a mentoring mode.
Getting better at giving feedback
There were a couple of good points on this. First, framing the feedback in terms of what the recipient cares about makes them more likely to change their behavior. As a manager one is uniquely positioned to understand the other person better, so it stands to reason that managers will knows the recipient best. Secondly, wordsmithing is another good way to practice getting better. It’s important that feedback is delivered first-hand, because it’s much more impactful when delivered first-hand. When feedback is delivered directly the recipient can ask clarifying questions and together potential solutions can be brainstormed.
Responsibility assignment matrix
“Responsibility assignment matrix” (also knows as “RACI matrix”) is a way to describe roles when managing projects. After learning about this I shared it with my manager and apparently this concept has been around for a while (some references are from books released in 2006).
I enjoyed reading this book and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to new managers. As always, I’m keen to hear what you think, so please let me know in the comments below.