5 Management Books to Read Before Starting a New Management Position

Starting a new management position is probably filling you with some mixed emotions! No doubt you are excited and revved up to get started, but you’re probably also a little anxious and uncertain about how you are going to handle this new level of responsibility. Don’t throw yourself to the wolves! Take some time to prepare and get off on the right foot by reading these essential books on management. These books will give you the tools and mindset you’ll need to get respect on day one.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is the one classic that everyone should read before going into battle in that new position. The late, great Stephen Covey wrote this in 1990, and three decades later, it is still one of the most useful books you can read. One of the reasons Seven Habits has resonated with so many is that the habits outlined have helped people from all backgrounds, no matter what career they pursue to not just become more “effective” from a business sense, but to become better people, getting more out of life. 

Being a great manager is about more than just raising the level of work output. Covey’s philosophy will help you foster great teamwork and personal growth of everyone around you. He draws upon several fascinating philosophies and proven strategies by great leaders of the past. One of those is former president and general Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose 4 quadrant matrix of urgency and importance can guide task selection.

It’s no secret that this is one book you’ll probably want to tackle first! Living a better, more fulfilling life is the most important goal you’ll have. Living that life will make you a better leader, and help you inspire those around you to reach new heights.

Harvard Business Review Manager's Handbook: The 17 Skills Leaders Need to Stand Out

As one of America's oldest and most prestigious educational institutions, Harvard has been educating some of the most extraordinary people in our nation’s history. Presidents, entrepreneurs and top executives often have one thing in common: a degree from Harvard. Their business school is one of the top programs in the nation, so paying attention to what their teachers have to say is probably one of the best decisions you’ll make.

In the manager’s handbook you’ll find easy-to-follow advice to help you successfully move in to a leadership role; positively influence others through your actions; provide constructive feedback to your team; encourage creativity and out of the box thinking; building credibility and gaining trust and the often overlooked development of “emotional intelligence.” 

The book is organized in a way that you don’t necessarily have to read it cover to cover at once. It's organized into sections and chapters, so if you want to zero in on a particular skill, you can do that. You’ll probably want to keep this one on your shelf and refer to it time and time again.

101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees: A Manager's Guide to Addressing Performance, Conduct, and Discipline Challenges

Being a positive leader and trusted advisor, coach and mentor to your employees is probably one of the things that drives you in your work. Unfortunately, the reality is that from time to time, you’ll probably have to deal with challenges like lateness, inappropriate behavior, lack of motivation and employees who aren’t team players.

These challenges can be opportunities if you know how to handle them. This book will give you a great primer in preparing for these challenges. The author, Paul Falcone has had extensive human resources experience in large entertainment companies. He has brought this HR perspective to managers through a series of books on topics like setting performance goals, performance reviews and hiring. 

This book provides you with easy to follow ideas and sample dialogue to deal with often awkward issues that may arise at work. Now, more than ever, it's extremely important to carefully address these issues early and in a way that will protect you and your company if any legal issues arise. Following these sample dialogues will help you stay on the right side of the law, avoiding problems all together, and if they do arise, making sure you are in the best position possible.

Difficult team members can bring everyone down. Treating people with dignity and respect; and having frank but tasteful discussions can not just alleviate these problems, but foster a satisfying turn-around in attitude and maybe even change someone’s life for the better.

The First-Time Manager

Jim McCormick brings his wealth of experience to those who are just entering a management position. However, this book isn’t just for first-timers. Anyone will improve their management skills by reading it. 

There are four core concepts presented by the author. These easy to follow steps are sure to focus your energy and help you become successful from day one.

The first step is to change your focus from being a team member to a team leader. This is done by shifting your focus from tasks to people. This change of focus is at the heart of being a good manager.

The second step is knowing when and how to implement change. Change too quickly and you might cause alienation. Don’t change quickly enough, and you may fail to adapt to new conditions and fail to thrive.

Third, you’ll need to delegate! This fosters trust and loyalty amongst your team. Delegation also allows you to focus on new tasks as they come along.

Fourth, you’ll use Mr. McCormick’s three simple steps to give praise. This makes your team feel valued and motivated.

How to Win Friends & Influence People

The late Dale Carnagie’s approachable, easy to follow books have been helping people for close to one hundred years! Though he passed away in 1955, his philosophy continues to be helpful to millions. This book in particular has amassed 4.5 stars and 51,929 ratings. It’s no secret why.

The book is organized into some main sections that cover things like people handling, becoming “liked,” getting people onboard with your way of thinking, and changing others. Each one of these sections has useful, focused subsections. Also included is a section on making your home life happier, which most would agree is essential to making you an effective leader.

It’s hard to argue with the fact that millions of copies of this book have been sold since its 1936 original publishing date. It’s no-nonsense, common sense! As we all know, however, common sense isn’t always all that common!