The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo

Jul 03, 2021

Just finished this very insightful and down-to-earth book on team management basics. Comes with loads of actionable advice, check-lists and quizzes. It covers everything from first month on the job and managing yourself to efficient meetings and growing leadership within your organization.

Author, Julie Zhuo joined Facebook early on as a designer intern and since then has grown to the position of Product and Design VP and... even left Facebook not very long ago.

My highlights (not exact quotes from the book):

  • Your main goal as a manager is to help your team achieve better results. Can rephrase as get stuff done and make sure people are happy
  • Purpose, people and process
  • You have to enjoy the job to be successful in the role
  • What you love to do is not necessarily what your team needs right now. And you have to adapt and change quickly
  • Signs of good relations with report: reaching out for help, constant feedback loop, would want to work with me again.
  • This role requires unconditional care for your reports
  • Double down on things (and invest in team members) which work better. Don't dwell on thing which don't work that good
  • Frequent and honest feedback is a must to avoid mid-term disappointments. Feedback can task specific and behavior specific
  • Delivering feedback is an art - how not to scare, how to confirm being on the same page about the problem, direction to remedy and steps.
  • Delivering bad news start with the decision and own it up.
  • Play your strength rather than work on fixing your weaknesses. To do so you need to figure them out first (questionnaire included).
  • Fixed vs growth mindset - have the later
  • Efficient meetings: pre and post meeting notes, low pressure, attendance only for folks required and ask for the feedback. Cancel inefficient meetings and follow up with reorg when applicable
  • Check what skill is lacking on the team as a whole and that is what you should be looking for in your next hire. Diversity bit
  • Have the strategy of hiring. Hiring of managers is more about connections
  • People who achieve the most are selective as well as determined
  • Making things happen: vision, strategy, plan, prioritization, small tasks, accountability, balance between long and short term goals.
  • Oftentimes it is faster to try doing rather than evaluate all the options. If you've got all information you need to make a decision chances are you are too slow.
  • Reminder: the point of being a manager is not to satisfy your own ego but to improve outcomes of your team.
  • Build culture - define and communicate (over and over again) values, hire the talent, resolve conflicts.

Wish I've read it couple of years back! Have recommendations for other good management books? Share them with me on twitter! Cheers