Many people think that being a manager just means not having to do the real work. Others believe that becoming a manager is just a chance to get a pay raise. But, great managers are highly skilled at what they do, and they multiply the performance of others.

With that in mind, let’s explore ten of the best management books. The list can help whether you’re a new manager, an experienced manager, or interested in becoming a manager in the future. Each of the books covers a unique perspective that can help you become more effective at leading others toward superior results.

1. The Making Of A Manager by Julie Zhuo

The Making Of A Manager Book Cover
The Making Of A Manager by Julie Zhuo

Many new managers never set out to lead other people. Instead, they were promoted into the role as their team started to grow. So naturally, one of the most significant challenges they face is getting clear on their new responsibilities.

They need to learn: how to build trust within a team, what to focus on in the first few months, how to get better results from others, how to cope with increased responsibility, and many other essential management topics.

The Making Of A Manager by Julie Zhuo is one of the best management books for new managers to read.  It covers many essential topics and is both an approachable and actionable guide to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

The Making Of A Manager is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

2. First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

First Break All The Rules Book Cover
First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

Great managers often have their own style when it comes to leading people. And of course, every team is different, and every organization faces unique challenges. So it can be tricky to identify the best practices of other managers.

Fortunately, Gallup conducted a massive study of over 80,000 managers. It spanned many different types of organizations, large and small, and it addressed everyone from top-level leaders to front-line supervisors.

This book leveraged that data to uncover what the best managers have in common. It introduces a simple method for measuring the current strength of your workplace. And it provides many practical tips for how to become a more effective manager.

First, Break All The Rules is available from Amazon and Audible.

3. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last Book Cover
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

There are two kinds of dangers that people face in an organization. There are outside dangers like direct competition, alternative solutions, and market conditions. And there are inside dangers like personal conflict, intimidation, and humiliation.

This book explains how great managers build a strong circle of safety around their team. The goal is to reduce or eliminate internal dangers. That way, everyone can focus their energy on moving the business forward through team collaboration.

Leaders Eat Last is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

4. The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

The Coaching Habit Book Cover
The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

The best managers don’t just facilitate collaboration amongst their team. They also help their contributors grow. That way, everyone can take on greater responsibility and increase their contribution to the organization.

Unfortunately, when a team member faces a challenge, it’s all too easy to step in and offer advice or even take direct action. But this approach limits their individual growth. And it creates a reliance on you to be there to solve future issues.

This book is about how to help people grow by using a coaching mindset. It reveals seven powerful questions that you can ask to produce better results. And it provides tips for how to turn this coaching style into a consistent habit.

The Coaching Habit is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

5. Measure What Matters by John Doerr

Measure What Matters Book Cover
Measure What Matters by John Doerr

As an organization grows in size, it often becomes difficult for managers to establish and communicate strategic goals. And this can bring progress to a crawl as individual teams struggle to identify and act on their top priorities.

This book explains how to use “Objectives and Key Results,” or OKRs, to manage organizational goals more effectively. It’s a proven approach used by Google, Intel, and others. It can boost transparency, accountability, and collaboration.

Measure What Matters is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books. You can learn more by reviewing my Measure What Matters book summary.

6. The Dichotomy Of Leadership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

The Dichotomy Of Leadership Book Cover
The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Great leadership often involves finding a balance between two extremes.  As a result, it can be challenging to know the best course of action in a given situation where both options have their pros and cons. For example, leaders must balance confidence vs. humility, leading vs. following, and empowering vs. micromanaging. 

This book is about how to strike a better balance between the many dichotomies of leadership. It covers twelve fundamental principles broken down into three categories: balancing your people, balancing the mission, and balancing yourself.

It’s a must-read if you want to be better prepared to make difficult decisions. The book covers each principle in great detail, and it includes practical examples that make it easy to apply the lessons in the real world.

The Dichotomy Of Leadership is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

7. Multipliers by Liz Wiseman & Greg McKeown

Multipliers Book Cover
Multipliers by Liz Wiseman & Greg McKeown

At a high level, there are two distinct approaches to managing a team. The first is to focus on being the genius that everyone else turns to in a bind. The second is to focus on unlocking the genius that can be found in others.

This book is about how the best managers take the second approach. They look for opportunities to make everyone around them smarter, more capable, and more effective. And the book provides actionable tips for helping teams achieve extraordinary results through a multiplier mindset.

Multipliers is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

8. The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

The Culture Code Book Cover
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

A key theme in management is the value of building a strong internal culture. People are more productive when they’re collaborating with others. So, managers must establish a strong culture to support and enhance teamwork.

This book explores the secrets of highly successful groups. It covers three fundamental skills of great organizations: building safety, sharing vulnerability, and establishing purpose. And it provides real-world examples that can help managers apply the concepts within their organizations.

The Culture Code is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

9. Your Brain At Work by David Rock

Your Brain At Work Book Cover
Your Brain At Work by David Rock

More and more businesses today rely on the focus and creative energy of their people. And yet, the world seems to be more distracting and stressful than ever. So it’s difficult for individual team members to do their best work.

This book is about how to help people work more effectively by understanding how the brain operates. It starts with practical tips for personal productivity and then addresses how managers can bring out the best in teams or groups.

The theme of understanding ‘how the brain works’ may sound complicated, but the author does a great job of breaking down each insight and providing short stories to make the ideas very actionable.

Your Brain At Work is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books. If you’re interested in learning more, check out my Your Brain At Work book summary.

10. Who: The A Method For Hiring by Geoff Smart & Randy Street

Who Book Cover
Who: The A Method For Hiring by Geoff Smart & Randy Street

One of the most critical responsibilities for managers is to hire and retain great people. A great hire can take a business to the next level, but a weak hire can set the organization back months or years.

Unfortunately, far too many managers rely on weak or non-existent hiring methods. They may look up an article about the best types of questions to ask, but they rarely establish a consistent and reliable process for hiring great people.

This book introduces “The A Method For Hiring.” It’s a practical and actionable approach that can help you: define the outcomes you want, generate a flow of great talent, and ask the right questions to identify the best candidates.  It’s a must-read for anyone making critical hiring decisions.

Who is available from Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

Beyond The Best Management Books

Want to explore other business-related topics? Consider checking out the best leadership booksbest product management books, or best entrepreneur books.

You can also subscribe to The Rick Kettner YouTube Channel or The Rick Kettner Podcast to get updates about future book summaries and reading lists.

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Rick Kettner

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