Book Summary - The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo
Julie Zhuo, former VP of design at Facebook, teaches you how to be successful as a new manager.
At the age of 25, Zhuo was appointed as VP of the Facebook design team. That was her first managerial role. At first, she thought a manager should focus on having meetings with team members, giving them feedback, and promoting or firing them. Managers should make sure team members are working well together, achieve career goals, and develop a process to improve efficiency. However, a decade of experience later, Zhou realized it was most important for managers to help teams get great results.
The author realized that there are several routes to management. The author took the apprentice path, where her boss allowed her to manage part of his team. She received much coaching from her boss; however, it was hard to establish a good rapport with the team beneath her because they saw her more like a peer.
The Pioneer route of management entails starting new teams with the responsibility of handling the team’s growth. These managers get to build the team from the ground up; however, support is lacking from the organization because they only can best understand the team.
The new boss's path to management is when a manager is brought from a different team or organization to manage a workgroup that’s already running. He is allowed to make more mistakes in the beginning because he is seen as a newbie.
Giving your team member feedback is hard. The author encourages activity-specific feedback given to team members as soon as possible when they finish a project. These serve as great coaching sessions for every task completed. Let them know what they did well and the improvements they should make.
360 feedback sessions are when managers give feedback to a particular team member after consulting the wider team. Receiving feedback from your peers gives you a better perspective of how you can do better.
Meetings can be boring and a waste of time. To make meetings more productive, the author ensures that each meeting has a successful outcome or decision. All team members articulate their points of view clearly. The manager facilitates this process. All options and views must be presented and respected.
Hiring people is an important part of a manager’s job. All too often, the author sees managers hiring people simply to fill a vacancy. They fail to think deeply about how the skills, traits, and experience of the candidate will fit in with their team. Before hiring, the author encourages new managers to plan ahead.
At the start of the calendar year, ask yourself these questions.
What skills is my team lacking that we need?
What are their experiences and strengths?
What are the team’s priorities for the year? What is the expected rate of attrition? What is our budget?
How many recruits do we need?
What kind of experience does each recruit need to have?
What traits, personalities, and experience will increase the diversity of your team?
As your team grows, you will have a less personal relationship with team members. In fact, you might have to hire a manager to manage your team. Managing indirectly can lead team members to find you unapproachable. Thus then it’s important to tell team members that you welcome opinions that are different from yours and to encourage them to express their disagreements.
The Main Take-away
Julie Zhuo walks you through the essentials of becoming a first-time manager. She became a manager at 25 years old, working as the VP of design at Facebook. After over a decade at Facebook, she realized that great managers are made not born. This book teaches you how to be the kind of manager you wish you had.
About the Author
Julie Zhuo was the VP of product and design at Facebook. She became a manager at the age of 25. She is a Chinese-American computer scientist. She currently works as the Co-founder of Inspirit. In her blog “The Year of the Looking Glass”, she writes about technology, great UX, and leadership. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and Fast Company. She graduated from Stanford University. She lives in California with her husband and three children.