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Books on leading peers

I've been tasked with taking on a leadership role within my team. We're all peers, so there's no mandated "authority" behind my leadership role.  I have to do it the old fashioned way, earn it.

Anyone know of any good books on taking on a leadership role among your peers without appearing bossy?


Tuesday, January 21, 2003

By far my favorite book on the subject is "Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach" by Gerald M. Weinberg.

I also believe the standards, like Peopleware and Rapid Development, address leadership issues.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People, still a classic about 100 years after it was written...

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

"The First-Time Manager" is an excellent overview of the mistakes and pitfalls of one's first experience in managing other people.  Even though you won't be a full-scale manager, I think this book would help.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Dale Carnagie understood human nature and humans haven't changed.  Get your company to send you to the course.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

"Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers"
by J. Hank Rainwater

I have not read this one, but its intent eerily matches your needs (programmers leading programmers). Look it up on Amazon, it might be worth it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

We're all peers, so there's no mandated "authority" behind my leadership role.  I have to do it the old fashioned way, earn it.

Might give you some hard time. I remember a few years ago, I was in the same situation. I had to struggle with one of my ex-peers because he tough he could do the job better.

Later, he told me how much he learned while working on my projects. I think I learned far more from him than he learned from me.

Reading books can help you, because you will see general schemes in the situations you face. Maybe it will also spare you some BIG mistakes.

But IMHO, dealing with people is the more complex task in a professionnal life, and you will have to make your own experience, it's something you won't learn in books.

I hope my shaky english doesn't make me sound too scary.

Managing is fun !

Ralph Chaléon
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

It doesn't matter what books you read (or don't). Just be yourself ('cause you cannot be somebody else), don't worry about anything else but doing your job at your best.

Never treat people disrespectfully nor ask them to do things you cannot do (if you can't/won't do it, be sincere and let them decide and you manage the process).

Secondly, never and I mean NEVER let anybody else, no matter who he/she is,  hurt your team. You have to mark your teritory and kill anybody who's into playing games with your team.  Your job may be at stakes at times, but that's really what it takes.

If you treat people fairly and with respect, with time they'll accept you as a leader. And if you trully fight for your people, soul and heart, they'll follow you in hell (if that's what really takes to get things done 8)

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

If you haven't got any mandated authority I'd get it quick.

Otherwise you're letting yourself be set up so your boss can take the credit and you the blame; and you'll lose your colleagues as friends as well

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Yablan wrote
"Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers"
by J. Hank Rainwater

I have not read this one, but its intent eerily matches your needs (programmers leading programmers). Look it up on Amazon, it might be worth it. "

I've read it.  Very interesting, especially for those new managers; ones who've been "promoted" to managership.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

>I've been tasked with taking on a leadership
>role within my team. We're all peers, so
>there's no mandated "authority" behind my
>leadership role. 

Respectfully, this sounds like your management is painting you into a corner.

Responsibility without authority is meaningless. 

Get some document that says you are a supervisor and will have input into the annual evaluation/raise process.

THEN assume that you don't really have any authority anyway and go buy "The Deadline" by DeMarco and similar books.  The Deadline has a good bit in it about how to create authority from sources other than the traditional chain of command. Plus it's darned interesting (it's a management textbook in novel format.  Not the best novel ever, but it's good, and it sure beats any textbook I've ever read.  Peopleware is probably the best "textbook" I can think of - also deMarco.  and there's "Slack" ... also DeMarco.  Hmm ...)


good luck ...

Matt H.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

First of all, it does not appear that anyone here has asked you what your mandate actually is. What will be different about your role in the group vs. everyone else's role, since you're still a peer?

I'll take a stab, in lieue of any more detailed info, and assume that you're being tagged as a mentor, role model, and/or possibly a sort of defacto technical lead and architect,but without formal management responsibilities.

This kind of role is both a really good idea, as well as showcasing just how dumb your employer can be. Why? As already stated, responsibility w/o authority is meaningless. It sounds like a 'soft' job title; as though your employer sees you as the most senior and/or productive and/or mature person in the group or the like, and wants to formalize this role, yet without giving you very much in the way of definition. I see a role delegation like this as an ego palliative. More below.

IE: the apparent lack of a 'real' mandate would seem to indicate that you can and should stop being a "leader" when those actions interfere in any conceivable way with your boss's objectives.

A 'mentor' is a great idea. But I have yet to work in a company in the last 15 years that would respect the role of a mentor. As soon as a current fire drill arises, mentorship is shitcanned.

I had this kind of role years ago. It was stupid, an exercize in frustration. EVERY time I EVER tried to use the role to help mentor a guy in my group that was floundering and doing nothing but BSing and reading emails all day long, he'd get yanked off onto a maintenance project and any and all notion of where I was with him was totally lost. This guy had many ways of evading any kind of learning that I could impart, and I had absolutely no influence on his task priorities. So it was a totally fluff, ego appeasement role. Someone thought I would eat up the image and ego stuff and it didn't 'cost' the company anything...

Myself - if I were given such a role today, I would do absolutely NOTHING different, and I would go about my day to day job exactly as before until a superior informed me what I was supposed to do "leader" wise and was quite specific about what they expected me to do and comprehended the impact that it would have on other 'real' work.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I assume you're talking about being some sort of project/technical lead for a small team, that is managed by somebody else. I think you'd have far better luck having a quiet chat with somebody else who recently went through the same process, than reading a book.

Is there some 'leader' in your organization that it seems everybody wants to work with, or who has a lot of influence with his peers? Sometimes its just because the person is real popular, but they might be a good role model.

Eric Moore
Thursday, January 23, 2003

"Leading without power"

Max De Pree.

I haven't read it, I'm going to call my library soon and request it, though.

Inter-library loan.  Takes a couplea weeks to get the book, but it's FREE.  Free.  free.

Matt H.
Thursday, January 23, 2003

Actually, the boss told me in my review that he's been promoted. He's still our boss though because no one in the team has taken a leadership role to earn the promotion to fill his old job.

I'm looking to take the leadership role while still working as a peer so that I wind up the new boss. So, it's not one of those situations where you get stuck in a bad spot. I'm just trying to rise to the top of the heap, so to speak.

Thanks for all of the book recommendations. I'm probably going to start with the Carnegie.


Friday, January 24, 2003

"I'm looking to take the leadership role while still working as a peer so that I wind up the new boss."

Now this is a completely different issue, unless the "new boss" thing will be a democratic team descision.
You see, the best peer leader might not be seen as a leader at all. You want to convince the "old boss" that he should pick you, so you will have to be seen to take on leadership roles. Kiss ass and do a stage performance might get you higher on the candidates list than any of the true peer leader qualities.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, January 24, 2003

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