Leadership book “Learn to Lead: no one is born a great people manager”

This is Chandler. Before we talk about my book “Learn to lead”, a leadership and team management book for aspiring or first-time people manager, I want to introduce about myself.

I studied engineering in university but fell in love with digital marketing (performance marketing to be exact) in my second year. I didn’t know what digital marketing was or where it would lead me back then and just followed what I loved to do. My first paycheck was at least thirty percent lower than what it could be if I followed my engineering background. As it turns out, following your passion is a lot more fun and rewarding.

Now, More than 15 years later, I am a Vice President, Product, APAC at Essence, a global data and measurement-driven agency.

Our clients include Google, Flipkart, Airtel, NBCUniversal and the Financial Times, etc. The agency is more than 1,800 people strong, manages US$4B in annualized media spend and deploys campaigns in 106 markets via offices in Bengaluru, Chicago, Delhi, Düsseldorf, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Minneapolis, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto.

I have played a critical role in building Essence APAC operation from 1 office with less than 10 people to 9 offices and more than 500 professionals. Billings have increased by more than 45 times since 2014 to more than $650M.

I wrote this book “Learn to Lead: no one is born a great people manager” because, over the years, I have found myself sharing similar advice to our aspiring/first-time people manger. They are bright, great at their job technically, eager to learn but people management is new to them. And many of them are facing difficulties.

This book is meant to help new managers or aspiring managers to learn about leadership and team management. While the best way to learn to be a good manager is through real-life experiences, I hope this book will offer some guidance, markers along your journey to make it smoother. The book is purposely light on theory as it is meant to be a practical guide. I do include relevant research, studies from reputable sources like Harvard Business Review, books like “7 habits of highly effective people”, “Prepared” by Diane Tavenner, and others. While writing this book, I realize how many mistakes I have made throughout the years, so I truly appreciate how difficult it is to be a good people manager. I am thankful to many previous managers, colleagues, friends who have helped me along the journey. I have learned a lot from each one of them in many ways.

The book has 21 chapters and divides into two main parts. The first part is about being someone worth following. I believe that to be a good people manager, you should try to be the best version of yourself as a human being. I understand that there is no single definition of the best human being, and each culture would offer different nuances; however, across cultures, there are fundamental values that we think each of us (humans) should have. In part two, I discuss different aspects of people management that you may need to know to be successful from “how to earn the trust and confidence of your team,” “let them be themselves at work,” to “how to prepare for an interview,” etc. These recommendations are a result of my actual working experience over the years. I include as many real-life examples as possible; however, to protect confidentiality, all names are pseudonyms.

For most chapters, I try to answer three simple questions:

  • What is the topic/concept?
  • Why is it important?
  • What are the practical recommendations?

It costs US $5.0 ( or a cup of coffee) to buy the book on Amazon and it will be sent to your Kindle.

If you are new to this blog and want to understand more about my background, go here or connect with me via LinkedIn

learn to lead cover


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