3 management books to read this summer

Summer is a great time to take a step back and take the time to learn new things. At Popwork, we are fans of the following books which are a great complement to using Popwork with your team. Why not choose one of the following three books to challenge your vision of management?


Cover of the book Radical Candor - Popwork

"Radical Candor" by Kim Scott is a popular management book that focuses on developing effective leadership and communication skills in the workplace. The book introduces the concept of radical candor, which involves a combination of caring personally and challenging directly.

Here are some of the main learnings from the book:

1. Care Personally: One of the key principles of radical candor is caring personally about the individuals you work with. It emphasizes building strong relationships, understanding the needs and aspirations of your team members, and showing genuine empathy and concern for their well-being.

2. Challenge Directly: While caring personally is important, it should be balanced with the ability to challenge directly. Radical candor encourages giving honest and direct feedback to help individuals grow and improve their performance. It involves addressing problems, providing guidance, and not shying away from difficult conversations.

3. Avoid Ruinous Empathy: Ruinous empathy refers to a situation where a leader or manager avoids giving critical feedback due to a fear of hurting someone's feelings. However, this can hinder personal and professional growth. Radical candor emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between showing empathy and being honest and direct in order to help individuals reach their full potential.

4. Embrace Radical Candor: By combining caring personally with challenging directly, leaders can create an environment of trust and openness. It encourages a culture of feedback, where team members feel comfortable providing feedback to their colleagues and superiors. This approach fosters a positive work environment and leads to better collaboration and improved results.

5. Practice Regular Feedback: Radical candor stresses the significance of continuous feedback. Instead of relying solely on annual performance reviews, the book advocates for regular, ongoing feedback conversations. This allows for timely course corrections, recognition of achievements, and ensures that everyone is aligned with the goals and expectations.

6. Build a Culture of Growth: Radical candor encourages leaders to focus on the growth and development of their team members. By providing clear expectations, offering guidance, and supporting their professional aspirations, leaders can create an environment that fosters learning and growth.

Overall, "Radical Candor" provides practical insights and techniques for leaders and managers to build stronger relationships, improve communication, and create a culture of trust and growth in the workplace.


Cover of the book Measure what matters - Popwork

"Measure What Matters" by John Doerr is a book that introduces the concept of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and provides guidance on implementing this goal-setting framework in organizations.

Here are some of the main learnings from the book:

1. Setting Clear Goals: The book emphasizes the importance of setting clear and ambitious goals. OKRs provide a structured approach to goal setting by defining Objectives (what you want to achieve) and Key Results (specific, measurable milestones that indicate progress towards the objective). Clear goals help align teams, drive focus, and create a sense of purpose.

2. Alignment and Accountability: OKRs help in aligning everyone in the organization towards a common mission. By cascading OKRs from top-level objectives to individual team and employee objectives, everyone understands their role and contribution to the larger goals. This promotes accountability and transparency, as progress is visible to all.

3. Continuous Monitoring and Feedback: Regular check-ins and progress updates are crucial for successful implementation of OKRs. The book emphasizes the importance of tracking and reviewing Key Results frequently to ensure that teams are on track. Continuous monitoring allows for adjustments and interventions as needed and promotes a culture of learning and improvement.

4. Stretching for Ambitious Goals: The OKR framework encourages setting ambitious goals that push individuals and teams outside their comfort zones. By aiming high, even if the goals are not fully achieved, significant progress can still be made. The book highlights the importance of embracing failure as a learning opportunity and encourages a culture of risk-taking and innovation.

5. Agility and Adaptability: OKRs are not set in stone and can be adjusted as circumstances change. The book emphasizes the need for agility in goal setting, allowing for adjustments and course corrections based on new information or shifts in priorities. Flexibility is important to ensure that goals remain relevant and aligned with the dynamic nature of businesses and markets.

6. Learning from Successful Organizations: "Measure What Matters" includes numerous case studies and examples of successful companies that have implemented OKRs, such as Google and Intel. By studying these examples, you can gain insights into how OKRs have been effectively applied and adapt those learnings to their own organizations.

Overall, "Measure What Matters" provides a practical framework and valuable insights into the power of setting clear goals using OKRs. It highlights the benefits of alignment, accountability, continuous monitoring, and adaptability in driving organizational success.


Cover of the book High output management - Popwork

"High Output Management" by Andrew Grove is an older but highly regarded book that offers valuable insights into effective management and leadership practices. Here are some of the main learnings from the book:

1. Managerial leverage dramatically impacts organizational output: Managers are responsible for increasing the output of their organizations and neighboring organizations they influence. Managers “leverage” their time by spending small amounts to have large impact through three activities: 1) information gathering, 2) decision making, 3) “nudging” others. Doing it right means positive high leverage actions

2. Leveraging Time: The book emphasizes the importance of managing time effectively. Grove introduces the concept of leverage, which involves focusing on high-leverage activities that have a significant impact on the organization's goals. He encourages managers to prioritize their time and delegate tasks appropriately to maximize productivity and achieve better results.

3. Meetings as a Productivity Tool: Grove provides practical advice on conducting effective meetings. He suggests that meetings should be structured, purposeful, and focused on problem-solving and decision-making. The book introduces the concept of the "one-on-one" and the "staff meeting" as valuable formats for effective communication and collaboration within teams.

4. Performance Reviews and Feedback: Grove emphasizes the significance of regular performance reviews and feedback to drive employee growth and development. He provides guidance on conducting constructive performance evaluations and highlights the importance of providing clear expectations, setting goals, and offering timely feedback.

5. Operations and Scaling: The book delves into the operational aspects of management, discussing topics such as process improvement, workflow analysis, and scaling operations. Grove shares insights on how to identify and address bottlenecks, streamline processes, and improve overall efficiency to achieve high output.

6. Decision Making: Grove explores the decision-making process in the context of management. He provides guidance on making effective decisions by considering multiple perspectives, gathering relevant information, and balancing risks and rewards. The book offers strategies for making tough decisions and managing uncertainty.

7. Building a Culture of Accountability: Grove emphasizes the importance of establishing a culture of accountability within organizations. He discusses the significance of clear communication, setting expectations, and ensuring that individuals and teams take responsibility for their actions and outcomes.

Overall, "High Output Management" provides practical and actionable insights on various aspects of management, including leadership, time management, communication, performance evaluation, and decision-making. The book offers valuable frameworks and strategies to help managers and leaders drive high performance and achieve organizational success.