Management and Leadership are two very different things. And they are equally difficult.
Management is about obtaining, tracking, and utilizing a set of resources to accomplish the tasks and work in front of you. It’s about understanding the work to be done, how it can be decomposed into work and tasks, how to estimate and plan resource usage, and how to monitor and control execution of work and tasks.
Leadership is about people; it’s about motivating and encouraging people to move in the correct direction, together, so that they may accomplish the tasks and work in front of you.
There have been many books written on effective management and leadership, but a key component of the better ones is that management and leadership must be adaptive. Different techniques and styles work better with different projects, organizations, industries, and people. Engineering and technology presents a unique set of challenges in this realm. Engineers and developers are typically extremely intelligent, resourceful, self-confident, and resistant to being told what to do.
So what is a technical manager, or an engineering leader, to do? If you look at many successful people, they all tend to say the same thing, “Surround yourself with intelligent people. Listen to their advice and wisdom.” Thus, reading about experiences and insights from accomplished people is an essential way to learn how to be a better manager and a better leader.
It’s about Knowledge. In Nugget-size.