Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekend Reading: The Management Edition

When I first became a manager, I struggled with feeling like management was real work. I'd finish a day and feel dissatisfied, because I couldn't point to what I had produced that day. I've gotten over this, and now think management is some of the most important work I do. I still love the direct technical aspects of my job, but I've come to really enjoy management, too- at least when I have the freedom to manage properly. Nothing frustrates me more than feeling constrained and unable to manage well.

So now I read about management as much as I read about tech and science topics. This week, I'll share some of the links about management I've gathered up.

First, Tim O'Reilly has a great post about the mistakes he made as the founder of O'Reilly Books. It is a long read, but it is definitely worth your time if you are at all interested in management and/or entrepreneurship.

Next, Scott Berkun posted a Q&A about his book, The Year Without Pants. The book is about his time at Automattic, the company responsible for WordPress. I haven't read the book (yet), but it sounds interesting.

Do you remember when I argued that even extremely successful women like Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg are constrained by gender biases, and have to think about them in determining how to respond to situations and lead? Well, Elaine Wherry, one of the co-founders of Meebo, tells a sobering story about how gender biases can impact even a co-founder of a company. I keep typing and erasing more about this topic, but can't make a coherent statement and "Gaaaah! People!" doesn't seem very convincing. Maybe I'll come back later and rant about this properly, because clearly I have a lot of thoughts on it. For now I'll just say that if you think simply having a certain title or position will protect a woman (or a person of color) from the impacts of bias... I'm not sure what to say to you. Go read that link and really think about it, I guess.

Staying on the gender issue for a minute: here is a good article about the fact that many women find themselves saddled with the "second shift" at work, too. This is one of the things I keep an eye on as a manager. Yes, it matters that men as well as women organize birthday outings, and that the men are charged with organizing training sessions and the like from time to time, too.

Finally, I like this article about treating a career (or for that matter, a job) as a marathon and not a sprint. I think about this as a manager, too. Finding new hires and training them in is time consuming. I'd much rather keep the people I have, and I won't keep them if I overload them. I'd rather be a little late on one project than lose a talented employee because I burned him or her out.

As always, feel free to suggest more reading in the comments!


  1. Ah yes, the "second shift" at work. It was hard for me to stop volunteering for that stuff because I'm just good at it, and I LOVE organizing social events and parties. But someone (can't remember who, maybe Lois Frankel?) said it affects your image/career progression so I started trying to share the responsbilities around my team - ie I didn't ALWAYS want to be the person who took meeting notes, even if everyone said mine were the best, etc.

  2. On the 2nd shift: My boss dubbed me the Queen of Cards b/c I was the one who initially organized all birthday/going away etc parties as an effort to boost morale but once it took hold & the team were into it, I designated a successor.
    He still leaves it to me these days but seeing as how he treats me really fairly in other ways and is really decent and supportive, I chalk this up to one of those things you do that isn't harmful in the grand scheme of things. I wouldn't be this sanguine about it under other circumstances though.

    Also: Linked to Tungsten Hippo:


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