Reading material for that time I became a team lead and an accidental leader

low angle photography of pile of books
Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

On October 1st 2020, I joined Yoast as the team lead for a group of amazing people. Needless to say, I am over the moon.

The new role came with the desire to give myself a more structured education about things that I have been doing informally for years now: managing people and processes.

In addition, since August 2019, I got more involved in WordPress Core: I co-led a couple of releases, became one of the team reps, and finally started mentoring new contributors.

In other words, whether I like it or now, I am a leader* in the WordPress community.

So, what’s a girl to do? Read books about leadership, management and processes!

Managing styles

I always say that my management style is “Mama Bear”.

  • I’ll protect my team members above everything else.
  • I will not tolerate any gossip about them or attack on them.
  • I will always take the blame if they do something wrong. I will talk it through with them in private so we can both learn.
  • I will teach them everything I’ve got.

While I intend to keep doing that, I also want to learn how to move things from a visceral level (mama bearing is) to a more structured approach in order to be more effective and helpful for the team and for my own growth.

At this point, I don’t have many teachings to offer, but I sure have lots of questions and resources bookmarked for my continuous education. Sharing them seems like the most logical thing to do.

Books on leadership, team-leading, and processes

These are the books that have been recommended to me in the past few months (and yes, they are Amazon affiliate links, since at home I have a hungry teenager and a hungry cat).

Books on conflict resolution

Communication in open source is hard.

Universal experience of open source contributors

Communication for a hot-blooded, non-native English speaker Italian woman that struggles with written communication, usually uses swear words to reinforce her point, is incredibly verbose and has a tendency to think that everyone hates her, is extra hard 😉

What’s the reading status?

Measure what mattersFinished. An interesting read indeed, some good ideas for everyone, but the model will work only if embraced by the whole organisation.
Changing the conversationFinished. It’s on my desk and I refer to it multiple times a day. Practice makes perfect.
Dare to leadStarting it this weekend
Books I have read from the recommended list

My plan is to read one a month. Probably not all of them: they are not all appealing to me at this stage, but who knows what the future has in store for me?

*The word leader vs lead is a whole different topic and I am struggling with it quite a bit. A friend recently offered this definition “leaders are people who have others looking to them for guidance“. I can live with that. But then I want to be called a servant leader. Or a mentor. Maybe your guide to unexplored territories? I’ll mull over this one a bit more.


  1. I recently read “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande. He is a surgeon in the US and I think now part of the Biden Team’s Covid response team.

    The book is not really much about managerial systems but about systems itself and some inbuilt minor change of habits having good or bad implications.

    I found it very useful at my new gig where I am a senior member of a team.

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