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A Book Apart #30

Resilient Management

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Finding your bearings as a manager can feel overwhelming—but you don’t have to fake it to make it, and you don’t have to go it alone. Lara Hogan shares her recipe for supporting and leading a tech team—from developing your mentoring and coaching skills, to getting comfortable with having difficult conversations, to boosting trust among teammates—while staying grounded along the way.

105 pages, Paperback

Published June 11, 2019

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Lara Hogan

6 books57 followers

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5 stars
354 (52%)
4 stars
252 (37%)
3 stars
59 (8%)
2 stars
9 (1%)
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1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 83 reviews
Profile Image for Jess.
71 reviews63 followers
September 20, 2019
Overall, this book is a great read, especially if you’re new to management. I’ve consulted many management resources already. This book reinforced a lot of what I’m already doing while teaching me a few new things along the way.

Things I’m already doing that Lara reinforced in her book:

• Provide regular feedback to your direct reports. Don’t wait for performance reviews. This is critical for giving your direct reports the opportunity to learn what they’re doing well and where they need to improve on a consistent basis.
• Repeat what you say to your direct reports. People rarely remember something the first time they hear it. Lara’s guidance reminds me of the LinkedIn CEO’s quote, “When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it.”
• Adapt your communication when necessary for your team members. As Lara says in the book, it may feel inauthentic to communicate in a way that’s not your default style. But some people need to hear things a certain way for it to resonate. Not every direct report you have is like you. They may communicate and process information differently.

A few new things I learned from this book:

• Lara suggests using a mad lib to establish your management values. By filling in the blanks and reviewing the value statement, you can visualize how you want to manage your team. It’s a great framework for stopping to analyze and reflect upon how you work with your direct reports.
• Lara’s perspective as a female manager. Throughout the book, she addresses the nuances of management if you’re a member of a marginalized group. She also talks about managing team members who are part of marginalized groups. I appreciate this because most management resources are written by white guys. While these men have valuable management guidance to provide, their guidance comes from the perspective of a white guy. If you’re a member of a marginalized group, you’re often perceived differently if you apply the management style as white men. I’m so glad she addressed this in the book. Many resources on management don’t address this at all.
• Build a network of other managers you can rely on for input. This is something I haven’t done but plan to do after reading the book. I rely on my cofounders for a lot of management input. I also see value in getting perspectives from people outside of my organization in similar roles.

Again, this book is a great read, especially if you’re new to management. I don’t agree with everything in this book, but that goes for any management book I’ve read. What works for one manager won’t necessarily work all the time for me.

I pulled what I can use from this book and look forward to applying it as I manage teams in the future.
Profile Image for Sebastian Gebski.
921 reviews785 followers
February 2, 2020
A very nice book on modern engineering leadership - that's what I like :)

Lara doesn't pretend she has written a full almanac on all aspects of engineering - "RM" is focused on a few chosen (yet very important aspects): personal mgmt style, modes of team members' support, clarity when it comes to expectations, careful communication planning, etc. I love the way she presents the topics - as she's very good at framing concepts in simple conceptual models. I'm not saying she has invented them all (she didn't), but this is the way she operates & it fully resonates with myself.

It's a quick read, but a very meaty one. I can totally recommend it - very good stuff.
Profile Image for Anna Debenham .
4 reviews5 followers
June 10, 2019
In Chapter 4 of Resilient Management, Lara states “The absence of trust is the foundation of most teams disfunction”. This book feels very much like the antidote to that. It guides the reader, whether they’re a first-time manager or an experienced one, through the different lifecycle stages of a team – from Forming to Storming, then Norming, and finally, to Performing.

I can’t think of anyone better to write this book – Lara has worked in so many different environments, from Engineering Director at Etsy, to VP Engineering at Kickstarter. She’s also written and given talks about management for years, and I’ve no idea how many individuals she’s coached over the years but it’s probably in the hundreds, if not the thousands.

Throughout Resilient Management, Lara focuses on the importance of empathy when giving advice and feedback, particularly considering how it might affect the team around them. “It’s your responsibility to give advice that’s current and sensitive to the changing dialogue of what’s happening in our industry”.

Things this book helped me with:

* Why being curious in your interactions with your team is so important.
* What tasks are best to delegate (giving away your lego), and how you can use that delegated work as an opportunity to help your direct report move towards their career goals.
* Why we or others get anxious for reasons that seem illogical, and how that can be explained using BICEPS.
* The importance of tone when communicating with your team. “Questions that start with ‘why’ make the person feel judged, whereas ‘how’ goes into problem-solving mode”.
* How (and when) to “disagree and commit”.
* How to give negative feedback effectively by explaining the impact of the problematic behaviour (and some phrases to try when doing this).
* Using frameworks like the RACI matrix to agree on the responsibilities of the individuals in a team.
* How to help teams scale by documenting what happens in each team meeting, so new members can read it and decide whether they should join.

There are also a lot of useful resources at the back which I’ll be adding to my “to read” list.

Reading this book is like having a 3-hour coaching session with Lara – she’s woven in so much of her advice into the pages. One of the most valuable parts of my first session with her was when she covered the difference between mentoring and coaching, and she’s devoted a whole section to this in the book. At the end of our session, she set me some homework based on what she’d taught me – you don’t miss out on this by reading the book as she’s added coaching questions at the end of every chapter.
Profile Image for Annjana.
74 reviews3 followers
April 18, 2021
I was skeptical about it initially and felt I’d already read about what was being spoken about. But I was so wrong. Although I knew the content from other books, the way Lara has put forth the content, made it much more easier to absorb and action on. I’m looking forward to practicing a few 1:1 ideas and communication with the team and managing energy. Truly a great read and more so a book that I’d definitely keep referring back to.
Profile Image for Katie Kovalcin.
3 reviews1 follower
May 28, 2019
Lara's book is full of clear, actionable advice for new managers. I'm wading through many of the problems she's outlined and through her guidance, I am able to find the answers (or ask the questions!) I need to move forward. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Mindaugas Mozūras.
277 reviews151 followers
June 22, 2019
Growth is beautiful; growth is magnificent; growth is what we should be aiming for. But in actuality, growth is painful.

Lara Hogan is one of my favourite engineering managers to follow on Twitter and read on RSS. I was also lucky to hear her do a conference talk more than once. I knew this book would be useful when I read that she'll have a treatise on management coming out.

I was not disappointed. I liked Resilient Management, which focuses mainly on management fundamentals. It's a good overview, providing practical and actionable advice. I expect it to be an excellent book to flip through once in a while in the future.

If like me, you're a fan of Lara Hogan, I can assure you'll enjoy this book. Some of the content might be familiar because you've seen part of it in her blog posts or talks. That's as expected as this book is a summary of Lara's thinking on management.
59 reviews
July 11, 2021
The audiobook is only 3 and a bit hours so I finished this in two sessions and spent double the time doing a sketch note.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s short, punchy, practical advice for managers on how to develop their teams and teammates. I particularly appreciated the relevance of the examples and perspectives. Lara Hogan is an accomplished and experienced tech leader and gives stories from being a senior engineer to first time manager, through to Engineering Director at Etsy.

The biggest takeaway of the book was the BICEPS acronym that Lara constantly links back to. It covers six core needs individuals and teams have: Belonging, Improvement, Choice, Equality, Predictability, Significance. I love the vocabulary that this provides both for discussion with the team and with other managers for the potential sources of conflict or dysfunction in a team.

I also couldn’t help but note how many of Atlassian’s plays from the Team Playbook overlap with Lara’s suggested actions to help address those core needs. I’m more excited than ever to run Team Health Monitors, or to get my team to do My User Manuals.
3 reviews11 followers
June 11, 2019
This book should be considered "required reading" by new managers.

Here is what makes this book excellent:

1. For new managers, it provides the necessary “scaffolding” that they need to navigate this strange new role they’ve taken on. It gives them a new language and framing for how to anticipate and handle sticky challenges and pragmatic approaches they can lean on when things get tricky.

2. For veteran managers, it’s an excellent exposition of what should be considered fundamental concepts. Fundamentals need reviewing by even the best and experienced managers because they’re, well, fundamental.

Although the book is aimed at managers, I’m strongly suggesting experienced engineers (non-managers) should also read this, especially those who want to positively influence a team’s capacities to weather good times and bad while still getting things done.

Mature engineers lift the skills and expertise of those around them. If they can develop a sense of what challenges the team’s manager is facing (and how they’re facing them) they’ll be successful in lifting the skills of their teammates and help their manager help them in doing it. If they can't, they won't.
Profile Image for Bartosz Pranczke.
31 reviews30 followers
July 9, 2019
It is a good book, especially for new managers. I think the biggest take away is to remember about every human' core needs.
There are six core needs researchers find are most important for humans at work. Not all are equally important to everyone. You might find that equity and belonging are most important to you, but choice and status are most important to your employee. Getting to know them and coaching to them is a shortcut to making others feel understood and valued (aka inclusivity).


You might find those here https://www.palomamedina.com/biceps
Probably most managers do it intuitively but I think that addressing those needs explicitly can be a big win. The book is worth reading just for it.

There are a lot of other useful insights in the book.
What disappointed me a bit was the lack of "resiliency" in the book. I hoped that I will read about how can I apply concepts from "resilient engineering" to management or some other "techniques" that can actually be called resilient. Probably I've just had bigger expectations because of the title of the book that I should have had.
Profile Image for Haley.
288 reviews19 followers
July 25, 2019
Full disclosure, I have known Lara for several years and have also been lucky enough to take her Demystifying Management course recently. That being said, I feel strongly that this is book, while short, is packed with deeply useful information and helpful insights. Lately I have been feeling strongly that books focused on management contain lessons that are in fact valuable to folks at all points in their career, as well as lessons that can just as easily be applied outside of the workplace, and this book is no exception.
If you aren't in a position to take Lara's management courses (and honestly, even if you are), this book covers a great deal of the content from her repertoire and I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Bindu Upadhyay.
124 reviews89 followers
July 20, 2021
It's a 4.5 rounded to 5.
This book convinced me that in the future (after I feel satisfied in my individual contributor role) I would like to be a people manager. It's a must read for every manager out there with lot of practical tips and basic things to include in their work.
Profile Image for Kamilah.
Author 1 book25 followers
July 29, 2021
Solid recommendation, I’ll be referencing this book a lot!
Profile Image for David Yee.
1 review
June 11, 2019
Management school isn’t typically something software engineers enroll in; historically, we became managers because we were good at our craft for long enough that somebody felt we ought to tell other people how to do likewise. To advance in the discipline meant, ultimately, that you’d have to set that discipline aside and take up the discipline of management—often with no meaningful training and while being managed by somebody else who was flying just as much by the seat of their pants. This naturally resulted in the technology industry slowly filling up with managers who leaned heavily into their skills at working with predictable things like code, which often didn’t translate particularly well to working with unpredictable things like people.

This isn’t to say that understanding the discipline of engineering isn’t an asset to being an engineering manager—the best engineering managers can put themselves in the shoes of an individual contributor who is struggling with premature optimization or a complex algorithmic challenge on a tight deadline and help that contributor see their own path through. But while we might once have taken that guidance at face value, though—a transfer of skills between contributors—we now work in an industry with emerging voices who recognize the connection of experience to empathy. One of the strongest of those voices belongs to Lara Hogan, whose new book Resilient Management comes out today.

Resilient Management provides a crisp and comprehensive set of frameworks for understanding the effect of human psychology on team dynamics and the practice of management. Its five sections, in turn, address the challenges of: understanding your teammates, coaching them in their personal growth, gathering them as a team, leading them in the work, and maintaining and supporting yourself throughout. Lara provides questions that help you kick off a working relationship with new reports, strategies for dealing with ineffective meetings, frameworks for understanding your own management style and its gaps, and an entire chapter devoted to coaching techniques that should be required reading for every engineering manager. But its last chapter, called “Build Resiliency”, encapsulates the entire intent of the book—giving yourself, as a manager, space and support to do this work well, repeatedly, and with flexibility as your team and its challenges evolve. Lara emphasizes the importance of systematically growing as a manager, writing each chapter to build on the last, moving from understanding to execution to stamina, and transitioning between those chapters with coaching questions that help you articulate your own unique perspective on the work of management—regardless of the discipline you lead.

In that vein, it’s important to note that Resilient Management isn’t about the specifics of engineering management; it doesn’t try to teach you how to be a senior software engineer, build an architectural roadmap, or design a career ladder—there are other books that do that really well (most notably Camille Fournier’s The Manager’s Path). Rather, what Lara does here is offer that there is nothing particularly unique to the challenge of engineering management: understanding people and how they react to the world around them. She speaks from her considerable experience as an engineering manager and lead, but the book itself speaks to management broadly; it’s equally useful to designers, editors, product managers, and small business owners specifically because it proposes that this is work that all leaders should be doing. Because of that, Resilient Management can really dive into the details about the parts of a humane and supportive management practice that intersect with all those disciplines—it covers a substantial range of tactics in just over a hundred pages. You can read this book in a weekend and show up on Monday with a reinvigorated perspective on your team and your practice.

And listen: we could all stand to show up with some renewed perspectives; being a manager is hard, draining work. Beyond the challenges of planning, execution, and delivery, we bear real responsibility for the careers and lives of the people who work with us—all of this is connected. Our teams know that they owe us and our organizations good work, but we owe them a workplace that is well-considered and supportive of them in that work. Historically, we had only our individual gifts for empathy and support to lean on in making the transition from individual contributor to manager, but in Resilient Management, Lara Hogan has produced a fantastic and concise foundational text for the practice of humane management. Whether you’re a new manager or an experienced leader hoping to recenter your work on the people who work for you, Resilient Management continually reminds you that you are capable of this, and that you will be better for it. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Profile Image for Ivan Zarea.
25 reviews
July 13, 2020
Great, short and practical overview of things that worked and things that didn't. Even in its brevity, it covers things that I wanted to know but couldn't find any clear advice on, like how to ask for a mentor (comes with an example email!), how to deal with company roles that intersect, and how to disagree and commit.

Will happily reread in a couple of months!
Profile Image for Candi.
110 reviews7 followers
June 12, 2019
I watched Lara's An Event Apart talk about Navigating Friction. I was worried it was solely this talk, but I was mistaken. She had some great parts from her talk and added some bonus sections to it. I think the section on communication is the most important. This book feels different from most manager books. I think this could take any manager's skills to the next level.

The best part about this book though is that it could really be a book for anyone. You don't need a manager title to benefit from this book. Communication is more than just talking through meetings and interacting among stakeholders. It's also about how you communicate with your peers. Understanding your peers' BICEPS can help you in situations like providing feedback or settling a steaming situation.
Profile Image for Bill.
215 reviews74 followers
August 31, 2019
Highly recommended for new (and old) technical managers. I've found tremendous value in Hogan's blogs and her newsletter. This packages many of these ideas into a cohesive and lean package. Extremely tactical and concrete. You'll no doubt find new techniques for your toolkit.
Profile Image for Bjoern Rochel.
359 reviews66 followers
March 21, 2020
Good starter kit for new engineering managers. More seasoned ones might also learn some new, useful tools ranging from BICEPS (a SCARF alternative), Management Voltrons to RACI and Eisenhower matrixes as well as a good package of coaching and organizational tips&tricks.
June 10, 2019
So you're an engineering manager now. Chances are you have a track record of delivering incredible work and you know how to get things done. But now you're responsible for a team of other humans and helping them deliver their best work. If you're anything like me, you will quickly recognize that what made you an excellent individual contributor is insufficient for managing teams and leading people.

But you have something that I didn't: Lara Hogan delivers a concise, well-written intro on how to deal with the human aspects of management. Resilient Management will help you understand how to deal with surprising human emotions. How to balance coaching, mentorship, and sponsorship. How to set clear expectations and deliver both good and critical feedback. How to communicate effectively. And, perhaps most importantly, how you can become a resilient manager capable of thriving in ambiguity, dealing with crisis, and being a model for your teammates and organization.

Resilient Management is the perfect mix of actionable advice, leadership theory, and questions that will inspire introspection and the development of your own management style. It's close to having Lara in your corner, helping you navigate the complexities of management, and encouraging you to grow as a leader.
Profile Image for Bendystraw.
50 reviews5 followers
June 30, 2019
You don’t have to be a manager to benefit from this extremely well-organized and practical book. So many offerings in this genre are a series of scattered anecdotes around one central idea, leaving the exercise of extracting the valuable and actionable nuggets as an exercise for the reader.

Resilient Management is well-written, without fluff. The first part introduces the basic needs of a team (BICEPS), and the following chapters build on that framework. There’s a practical example for each strategy, and often there are diagrams and worksheets. Again, these are pithy and devoid of business speak—things you can easily incorporate into your work.

The author uses the word “teammates” instead of “reports” throughout, which sets an overall tone of human-centered leadership.

I’m a principal engineer, not a manager, but found Resilient Management a quick and helpful read with guidance applicable to the job of technical leadership. Like The Manager’s Path, it’s also a good resource for better understanding the challenges and work of my engineering manager.
Profile Image for Mathias Meyer.
Author 1 book36 followers
August 22, 2019
This is a great reference to have on your desk especially as a new manager. But even a seasoned manager may find some good nuggets in here and things to go back to every now and then to reset and reflect. It’s full of practical advice. One could almost say the book is 96 written pages that only contain practical advice, in the very best way.
Profile Image for Hugo Lopes Tavares.
Author 1 book4 followers
July 1, 2019
I'm a first time manager and this book has lots of actionable items on every chapter. I'm already applying what I read in the book! I also recommend you check out Lara Hogan's blog, it has shorter supplemental teachings.
Profile Image for Jo.
37 reviews8 followers
November 12, 2019
Lovely book for leaders & aspiring managers, does not waste any time & gets straight to the point.

My personal main take-aways:

* Stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing
* Core needs on the workplace: BICEPS (belonging, improvement, choice, equality, predictability, significance) (Paloma Medina)
* Manager hats: mentor, coach, sponsor, feedback
* "first team" mindset & building your Manager Voltron
Profile Image for Peter Rod.
15 reviews3 followers
January 11, 2022
Great primer! Lots of super useful stuff even if you’re not in managerial/leading positio. No fuss, no BS, a lot ot tips and practical frameworks. Deifinitely worth having on a shelf and returning to from time to time.
Profile Image for Davy Buntinx.
197 reviews29 followers
July 2, 2019
Niks wereldschokkend, maar aan de hand van enkele simpele frameworks bouwt de auteur wel een hele toolset op die onmiddellijk toepasbaar is.
Profile Image for Alex Ca.
24 reviews
July 26, 2020
Great book! Helped out a lot in some areas that I'm still trying to understand / drive.
Profile Image for Andrew.
108 reviews1 follower
April 24, 2020
Lara provides some great leadership tips and strategies. I may be burned out on this topic. I have read quite a few management books and they all seem to have similar ideas. It seems best to pick one of them that fits with your natural style and stick to it. If I could randomize my rating and have it occasionally go from a 3 to a 4 to a 5 and back again I would. This book could be wonderful for some folks. No real complaint on it.
Profile Image for Bugzmanov.
181 reviews39 followers
March 8, 2020
A very solid book about "soft" aspects of management - human relationships and leadership.
What to like about it: it's very short and concise, while most of the books in this category are watered down with opinions, anecdotes, and made-up stories, this one is different.
I'd also like to contrast it with "Elegant Puzzle": these two books complement each other like Yin and Yang.
Elegant Puzzle - presents management as a system, that can be observed, measured and optimized.
Resilient Management - presents management as an endeavor of human relationships, focusing on driving forces behind those imperfect agents that constitutes the system. What's in their state? What are they optimizing for?

The last chapters were a little bit underwhelming, that's why 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Olivier Grange-Labat.
43 reviews8 followers
August 4, 2020
I’ve been reading Lara Hogan’s blog for ages and recommending it for managers (eg “questions for a first one-on-one”) and was excited to read her new book.

It was surprising short with a high ROI, introducing new insights I had never read before, like for instance the BICEPS model (which can help you read / anticipate feelings and reactions in your team):

“Medina’s work draws on research indicating that humans have six core needs in the workplace:
- Belonging
- Improvement/Progress
- Choice
- Equality/Fairness
- Predictability
- Significance

Medina organizes these needs to create the acronym BICEPS (https://www.palomamedina.com/biceps/).

Not every core need is equally important to everyone; different people optimize for meeting different needs.”

Added to my recommended books list for managers.
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