February 5th, 2019

REVIEW – The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhou

I admit I wasn’t aware of Julie Zhuo before hearing about this book but now I am her biggest fan!

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Congratulations, you’re a manager! After you pop the champagne, accept the shiny new title, and step into this thrilling next chapter of your career, the truth descends like a fog: you don’t really know what you’re doing.

That’s exactly how Julie Zhuo felt when she became a rookie manager at the age of 25. She stared at a long list of logistics–from hiring to firing, from meeting to messaging, from planning to pitching–and faced a thousand questions and uncertainties. How was she supposed to spin teamwork into value? How could she be a good steward of her reports’ careers? What was the secret to leading with confidence in new and unexpected situations?

Now, having managed dozens of teams spanning tens to hundreds of people, Julie knows the most important lesson of all: great managers are made, not born. If you care enough to be reading this, then you care enough to be a great manager.

Zhuo is the VP, Product Design at Facebook, having successfully worked her way up the ranks. She first became a manager at 25 and wasn’t sure where to start, what she should be doing and what she should NOT be doing! As you can imagine, she has learned a huge amount from this experience, especially her own mistakes. This book is a really approachable guide for managers, whether you are new or experienced.

I first became a manager of a team when I was 26 and recently moved into a new company where I inherited a team. My first experience was a team that I set up myself, hired and grew. Zhuo labels this a “Pioneer” route. My current experience is the “New Boss” route as I am moving into an already established team. Both have their own challenges but I certainly felt it more in my new role, I’m moving into a new environment, in an industry I haven’t worked in before, and need to quickly build up relationships with my team members, proving I can be a good manager and am capable of doing the job!

Luckily I got a copy of this book at just the right time and was able to devour it before starting my new role. In it, aside from breaking down the different routes to management and techniques to deal with each, the book covers areas such as:

  • what really is management? How do you tell a great manager from an average one?
  • the skills you need to be a people manager – it’s not suited to everyone and people should not be forced into this role to advance
  • how to build trust
  • giving (and receiving) good feedback
  • having useful 1:1s and not wasting them
  • dealing with issues such as people not pulling their weight or causing conflict in the team
  • nurturing your team’s culture
  • your own personal development as a manager

This really is a brilliant book and one that I will be rushing out to get my own copy of as soon as it is out. I read it all the way through, making notes as I go, but I’ll now use it as a guide I can dip in and out of when needed. Thank you Julie for a wonderful book!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Verdict: 5/5!

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