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Many people think leadership is a higher calling that resides exclusively with a select few who practice and preach big, complex leadership philosophies. But as this practical book reveals, what’s most important for leadership is principled consistency. Time and again, small things done well build trust and respect within a team.
Using stories from his time at Netscape, Apple, and Slack, Michael Lopp presents a series of small but compelling practices to help you build leadership skills. You’ll learn how to create teams that are highly productive, highly respected, and highly trusted. Lopp has been speaking and writing about this topic for over a decade and now maintains a Slack leadership channel with over 13,000 members.
The essays in this book examine the practical skills Lopp learned from exceptional leaders—as a manager at Netscape, a senior manager and director at Apple, and an executive at Slack. You’ll learn how to apply these lessons to your own experience.
From the Publisher
How to Use This Book
There are two ways you can approach reading this book: randomly or linearly. Let’s talk random first.
Like in my previous books, many of the chapters of this book are standalone. Coming from decades of writing on my blog, I have a penchant for self-contained chapters. Each of the chapters of this book contains at least one small thing.
To help you pick a small thing, I provide a list in the introduction of all the small things contained within the book. If you’re looking for help on a particular small thing, you can skim this list and jump to wherever inspiration strikes.
The linear path within this book provides a more narrative structure. The book is broken into three acts, with each section representing a key leadership stage in my career: manager, director, and executive.
Each of these sections begins with a very brief history of the company where I truly learned about the role—Netscape, Apple, and Slack, respectively. These openers also contain brief descriptions of the responsibilities of the leader as a manager, a director, and an executive.
For any given chapter, you might start it and think, “Good idea.” Or you might think, “Well, that’s dumb.” You have the mutant power of knowing the time without ever looking at a clock. I wish I did, but I don’t, so whenever I enter a meeting my first move is to move a clock to face me—this is because I want to respect both the human I’m meeting with and the human I’m meeting with next.
Skip a chapter if it doesn’t speak to you.
This book is a comprehensive list of small things I’ve compiled over three decades of leadership, but I’m not actively using all of them. As each company culture is different, so is each team, and each team member. 1:1s are nonnegotiable in my book, but in some company cultures every meeting starts five minutes late, no matter how many times I show up two minutes early.
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