Engineering managers in today’s world face a variety of challenges. To deal with technical projects and lead a team of engineers, managers require unique skills. On the one hand, engineering managers have to be technically sound, and, on the other, they must possess effective leadership qualities to ensure maximum efficiency. One of the common challenges faced by almost all engineering managers is that of leadership. Despite having technical expertise and good communication skills, engineering managers often find it hard to lead a team in the workplace. This is particularly true for individuals in the early stages of their careers.
However, one of the best things about engineering management is that there is always a lot to learn. Managers of today can gather quality information from the experiences of others and seeing best practices at work. One such way is to invest some time listening to engineering management podcasts. Engineers, managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders actively create podcasts, sharing insights from the real world. The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while driving to/from work, working out, enjoying your lunch, or during any other daily activity.
In this article, we list the top 11 podcasts that can transform engineering managers into influential leaders. Here are the podcasts that we’ve curated for you.
We will cover:
- Engineering & Leadership
- Level-up Engineering
- The Engineering Leadership Podcast
- Manage This
- Effective Engineering Manager
- Decisive Moments for Engineering Leaders
- The Modern Manager
- Lead to Win
- Dose of Leadership
- HBR Ideacast
1. Engineering & Leadership
Engineering & Leadership is one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to when you want stories from the real world. Pat Sweet, the host of this podcast, is an engineer himself. He invites managers from leading organizations to share their experiences. The episodes, though long, cover challenges and comprehensively provide solutions.
Additionally, this podcast is a great resource for learning soft skills. One such example is the episode titled The Engineer’s Guide to Public Speaking, where Neil Thompson shares valuable tips for all engineering managers, irrespective of the stage of their career.
2. Level-up Engineering
When it comes to podcasts about recent trends in engineering management, Level-up Engineering is, beyond doubt, one of the best out there. This podcast, similar to Engineering & Leadership, brings in experts who talk about real-world challenges of engineering managers and how to tackle them.
On this podcast, you will also find a recently launched series, Level-up Engineering Stories. Although this series only has two episodes at this point, it is full of promises. One such episode is an Interview with Michael Lopp, the former VP of Product Engineering at Slack.
3. The Engineering Leadership Podcast
If you want a weekly dose of leadership and management stories, look no further. The Engineering Leadership Podcast releases new episodes every week without any breaks. It gets even better when you get to listen to bonus episodes at times.
The episodes contain quality information about modern trends in engineering management and why you should, or should not, adopt certain practices. Early in September, this podcast organized a debate about the structure of organizations. Shopify’s VPE Farhan Thawar and Facebook’s Sr. Director of Engineering Jerry Krikheli talked about flat and hierarchical structures in an episode filled with knowledge.
4. Manage This
If you are interested in project management, a skill essential for engineering managers, Manage This is an excellent resource. With 136 episodes so far, this podcast “by project managers for project managers” enjoys history as well as credibility.
Each episode of Manage This discusses a unique challenge for project managers. You can find several relevant topics on this podcast, from increasing the team’s productivity to learning new skills. Check out this episode on the challenges of leading projects.
5. Effective Engineering Manager
Effective Engineering Manager is another podcast with a lot to offer. The hosts, Adam Axelrod and Slava Imeshev bring their insights gained through an experience of over 25 years.
The primary focus of this podcast is on developing strong management skills and making day-to-day tasks more efficient. You’ll find a good number of episodes on team building and performance reviews, which are relevant for engineering managers in all organizations.
Management is nothing less than a superpower, and Supermanagers can help you develop this power. Supermanagers is a relatively new podcast with 69 episodes, but it is highly promising. Aydin Mirzaee, CEO of Fellow.app, hosts this podcast. He talks to managers and leaders from different organizations, adding value and credibility to each episode.
In one of the episodes, Stripe’s Head of Engineering, Smruti Patel, talks about the importance of credibility and trust for managers and how this can improve productivity.
7. Decisive Moments for Engineering Leaders
Decisive Moments for Engineering Leaders is a podcast by Plato, a mentorship platform for future leaders. The podcast, like Supermanagers, is relatively new, with only 33 episodes at this point. However, coming from a mentorship platform, the episodes are geared toward real problems and focus primarily on your leadership journey.
Some episodes also include influential leaders. For example, in one episode, Doug Gaff, Zapier’s VP of Engineering, talks about management issues in a remote environment.
8. The Modern Manager
As the name indicates, The Modern Manager is about modern trends and practices in management. These episodes serve as excellent resources for anyone interested in leadership, from dealing with conflict to creating a better working environment. The podcast is hosted by Mamie Kanfer Stewart, with guest speakers joining from time to time.
Each episode of this podcast is nothing short of a crash course where you get to learn pretty much all you need to know about a particular area in daily management activities. For example, in the episode titled Engage in Healthy, Productive Conflict, you’ll learn how to effectively manage conflicts at work, that too in less than 15 minutes.
9. Ask an Engineering Manager
Elmar Schraml’s fairly new podcast, Ask an Engineering Manager, is geared towards aspiring and professional engineering managers alike. The podcast has only 12 short episodes at this point. It is, however, interesting to see the diversity in these episodes. Schraml talks about career choices, the responsibilities of an engineering manager, technological preferences, and a lot more in his brief episodes.
Each episode deals with one question. For example, Do you think unit tests are important? An episode that talks about the importance of unit tests. Similarly, What does an Engineering Manager actually do? Another episode where the host shares details about his work, giving you a lot to learn.
10. Dose of Leadership
Richard Rierson, with over 25 years of leadership experience, hosts this remarkable podcast. Dose of Leadership is, quite literally, the dose every emerging leader needs. The episodes focus on the development of soft skills along with the core concepts of management.
Most of the episodes consist of interviews with professionals, sharing their experiences, challenges, and the ways to overcome those challenges. In one episode, Amy Morin from Verywell Mind talks about mental strength, which all managers need.
11. HBR Ideacast
HBR Ideacast is a podcast that’s been running for over 15 years. When it comes to management and leadership, one can hardly find a resource better than the Harvard Business Review.
Managers from all walks of life need to listen to these episodes. HBR Ideacast helps you learn about modern trends and gives you a balance of academic and practical knowledge that you can then implement in your workplace. For example, one episode talks about the impact of the pandemic on talent management. With their credibility and engaging content, these episodes will be a unique collection to your playlist.
Podcasts are the best way to make the most of your time and stay in touch with the recent happenings in management and leadership. The podcasts we’ve curated in this article are rich sources of knowledge for all engineering managers. Whether you’re just starting your career or are already leading a team of engineers, these podcasts will help you learn and grow each day.
Are you listening to some other podcasts that we may have missed? Or do you want to share your thoughts about the ones we’ve presented here? Share your thoughts, feedback, and recommendations on Zumvie’s Slack. The community of engineering managers will, indeed, love to know more about you and your recommendations.