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Book Report: Resilient Management by Lara Hogan

I bought Resilient Management (and a solid chunk of A Book Apart's catalog) during my radical sabbatical when I was seriously contemplating Engineering Management (EM) as a job path. Hence me reading the book - which resulted in me gently closing the EM door for now...
Book Report: Resilient Management by Lara Hogan
a dried brown field with a couple wheat stalks sprouting up 
Cover of Resilient Management book with a pen clipped to the cover ready to underline away!

        Buy ze book | visit author site

In my very official Mastodon poll I decided to let the people choose my next read and Resilient Management was the clear winner 🏆

Feb 27 Poll: What work/tech book should I read next? (so far I've read: Responsible Communication Guide, Effective Monitoring and Alerting, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, and Communication for Complex Information). 22% for Working Minds: Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis, 56% for Resilient Management, 0% for Information Seeking in Electronic Environments, 22% for BIFF at Work (Brief/Informative/Friendly/Firm)

I bought this book (and a solid chunk of A Book Apart's catalog) during my radical sabbatical when I was seriously contemplating Engineering Management (EM) as a job path.

Having seen how the employee lifecycle worked from a business perspective with my stint in PeopleOps, as BYOM (be-your-own-manager)  the cutesy acronym for the hell that is attempting to SRE with unfilled SRE Manager/Director roles, oh yeah and my ~literal~ degree in Engineering Management (LMFAO that's another blog post).

^ reflecting on my time so far I realized I have been exposed to some EM duties but mostly under duress and while I was explicitly focused on growing as an individual contributor so I was curious how one would even go about being intentional wrt engineering management.

Hence me reading the book - which resulted in me gently closing the EM door for now. A very fine outcome since I am very much enjoying my tour of technical marketing and honestly cannot see putting myself back in the meat grinder that is software engineering for corporate money.

To be frank, the working world would be a much better place, imo, if less people took on the management mantle and re-routed themselves ASAP after having management foisted upon them.

What I Learned

Six Core Needs in the Workplace

From Paloma Medina and neuroscience, these are the needs to meet to feel safe and secure aka foundation for trust

  • Belonging
  • Improvement
  • Choice
  • Equality
  • Predictability
  • Significance

^ this was partially introduced to me at Paloma's Brain Friendly Feedback workshop several years back! She's got a great in-depth resource to explore each of these facets linked above.

Disagree and Commit

Strategy where you disagree with a decision but not enough to cause you to leave the organization, hence you commit to giving it a try and supporting it (you can still be critical but not a naysayer). Key is being able to vent your feelings outside of the organization

^ HA. In my all-or-nothing thinking I hadn't really come across this strategy before and could have saved me a lot of consternation while I was faux-managing and had zero leadership sway but was beholden to implement many poor (imo) decisions.  This is likely what I would wrestle with the most as an EM especially in a climate of mass layoffs, hasty re-orgs, an economic chill, and a frothy frenzy around AI. I am very willing to walk away from organizations that grow in directions I do not agree with or have a history of promoting or rewarding unequally. (quite evident from my mile long resume at 31 years young)

" Quotables

Karen trust falling in Mean Girls
One of your primary jobs is to foster a foundation of trust on your team. This will be the underpinning of the team's overall health.

fortune feimster showing sponsorship "give her the opportunity"
Sponsorship is all about feeling on the hook for getting someone to the next level...you will put your personal reputation on the line on behalf of the person you're sponsoring to help them get visible and developmental assignments.

michael from the office shaking his head saying "this is the worst"
Getting deputized to share someone else's reasoning with your team can be frustrating or disillusioning.

Growth is beautiful, growth is magnificent, growth is what we should be aiming for. But in actuality growth is painful.

New Word

diagram of recombinant process where a blue circle is reformed by taking a section of a wavy pink line

recombinant - relating to or denoting an organism/cell/genetic material formed by recombination

Reading Reflections

This book is an incredible resource that breaks down how and why to effectively communicate to a variety of groups and in a myriad of situations. If you are looking to improve your workplace relations read this book!

As someone who is managed I found it insightful to peek at the bigger company context and get in the mind of a manager.

Most valuable, imho, are the reader questions sprinkled throughout for you to introspect, to ask your colleagues, higher-ups, teammates. Seriously if this book centers around communications, a well-phrased question is THE place to start and there's no shortage of them here.

Cat Tax

Manager Norman-cat sitting pretty for your one-on-one. his face asks "how can I support you today?"