If only there was an instruction manual for how to be a good boss in 2022. Well, there is now… kinda. It’s Boss Week at Girlboss and we’re unpacking this very question. Does a good boss look like someone who prioritizes flexibility and transparency? Someone who sets clear professional and personal lines and leaves their ego at the door? If you’ve recently been promoted to a management position and suddenly have a team of people relying on you for *everything*, you’ve probably had your fair share of “what the f*ck am I doing” moments. Well, you’re not alone. We hope that these stories make you feel more equipped to navigate this new (exciting) stage of your career.
Reading is fundamental, and there’s nothing like learning how to be a stellar employee (or boss) from the best books on the market. If you’re opting for some career TLC and want to take a break from networking and workshops, grabbing a trusty book always gets the job done. And the best part? It’s an amazing way to slow down and rest while learning some new skills.
Here, the Girlboss Team shares the books we’ve read to level-up our skills at every management level, from newbie boss to CEO.
"A friend—who was also new to managing—recommended this book to me when she found out I accepted a job that would see me leading a small team. It's written by a creative (one of the earliest design hires at then-fledgling Facebook) for whom management is not an inherent strength. I related to this POV a ton. Plus, the notion that your 1x1s with your boss should always be a little bit awkward was exactly what I needed to hear. It's validating without coddling you, instructive but not preachy. A great book for newbie managers."
Former Director of Growth Marketing
“I appreciate the anecdotes and the experiences that really illustrate how someone had led in different organizations. Kim Scott brings her mistakes, her flaws, and her practicality into helping others navigate leadership for themselves and their surroundings.”
“A really practical step by step guide to leadership and management. Being a great manager is a different skillset than being a great individual contributor. How do I fire/hire/promote someone? How do I motivate and set the right goals? What check-ins do I need? Highly recommend this read for first-time managers.”
“This book isn't quite the one I would hear managers or bosses talk about. I know there are a ton of 'how to be more productive' or 'what it takes to be a good boss' books out there - but this one is about the courage it takes to be ourselves. I've always been a believer that inner work is what's reflected in our actions and relating this to work, it’s a reminder the workplace is the wilderness and it's unpredictable. You can't change the people you work with, but you can stand for being who you are—which will take practice every day—and help cultivate a more appropriate arena to practice in—our jobs. This book also is a reminder that we're not meant to be alone and do it alone either.”
Brand Partnerships Manager
“This book is an awesome easy-read that speaks to the importance of standing within your values and finding your true purpose. If you’re looking for a great self help book, it’s ideal for anyone starting out in their career or if you just snagged a leadership position. Designing your personal and professional life will be so much easier with this addition.
Social Media Manager
“I read this book pretty early in my career, after it was recommended by a former manager I really respected and loved working under. When I read this book, it became clearer to me why she was such a great manager; she was extremely emotionally intelligent. She was the type of person who could pick up on the overall mood of a room and would adjust her approach to it accordingly. She also never lorded her manager title over others, and always showed gratitude to junior team members and owned her own shortcomings. This book touches upon why it's important for managers to do this kind of stuff in their professional relationships. It also has a personality quiz you can take that gives you an in-depth result on your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, so each person gets a pretty personalized takeaway from this reading experience."
“A must-read book on the art of negotiation, which is a part of all of our daily lives if we realize it or not. Told by a former international hostage negotiator, this author gives you real-world examples of the negotiation tactics he's discussing. If you're new to negotiations or want to develop some new tactics and strategies on how to approach negotiations this book is for you.”
“Super interesting read on such a fundamental part of our everyday life that I have never truly understood the importance of. Very well written and packed with well-explained research, it also gives you actionable advice on how to improve your sleep (and the consequences when we don't get enough). Ever wondered why we sleep or how lack of sleep impacts your physical and mental well-being? Give this a read.”
Other books we can’t recommend enough:
- The Prepared Leader by Erika H. James and Lynn Perry Wooten
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel
- Ishmael and My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
- Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher