The Making of a Manager Book Summary - The Making of a Manager Book explained in key points
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The Making of a Manager summary

Julie Zhuo

What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

4.2 (258 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo is a management guidebook that delves into core principles of leadership, including team-building, decision-making, and communication. It provides practical advice and real-world examples to help new managers thrive.

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    The Making of a Manager
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    A good manager’s job is all about outcomes, not activities.

    At the age of just 25, Julie Zhuo was offered the job of a lifetime – managing Facebook’s design team. More amazingly still, this role was Zhuo’s first managerial role. Thrown in at the deep end, Zhuo soon asked herself, “What does a manager actually do?”

    In her early days as a manager, Zhuo believed that her job consisted of holding meetings with team members, giving them feedback on how they’re doing and working out which subordinates to promote or to fire. However, she soon realized that her approach was short-sighted as it focused on basic daily tasks, rather than long-term goals.

    After a few years of experience under her belt, Zhuo became more strategic. She realized that a manager’s role was actually to focus on wider issues. These include ensuring her team was working effectively together, helping team members achieve their career aims and developing processes to improve efficiency without any hiccups along the way.

    But now, with nearly a decade of management experience behind her, Zhuo believes that the answer to what a manager does is far more concise than either of her previous lists capture. The job of a manager, as it turns out, is to achieve improved outcomes from your team. As you work toward this goal, you’ll begin to recognize the difference between a good manager and a mediocre one.

    How? Well, many people assume a box-ticking attitude when considering whether a manager is a good one. For instance, you might assess whether they are hard-working, likable or good at giving presentations. If they check all three boxes, then they must be a good manager. Right?

    Wrong. Actually, only the outcome of the team they manage can answer this question. In other words, the team of a good manager will achieve good results – consistently. So, ask yourself what outcome your team or business seeks. If, like Zhuo, the outcome you’re looking for is great design, then remember that an excellent manager’s team will consistently pitch you great designs, whereas a mediocre manager’s team will pitch you mediocre designs.

    A great manager is one whose team gets great results. It really is that simple – no box-ticking or long lists necessary.

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    What is The Making of a Manager about?

    The Making of a Manager (2019) explores what new managers can do in their first three months and beyond to ensure their team gets excellent results. From meetings to recruitment and managing a growing team, these blinks examine the opportunities and pitfalls that all new managers face, and demonstrate that great managers are made, not born.

    The Making of a Manager Review

    The Making of a Manager (2019) by Julie Zhuo is an insightful book that offers invaluable wisdom for anyone transitioning into a managerial role. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With a mix of personal experiences, practical advice, and real-life examples, it provides a comprehensive guide to effective management.
    • The book tackles the challenges and dilemmas managers face, offering practical solutions and strategies that can be applied in various workplace scenarios.
    • Julie Zhuo's honest and relatable storytelling style makes the book engaging and enjoyable to read, keeping boredom at bay while learning about crucial managerial skills.

    Best quote from The Making of a Manager

    The thoroughness of 360-degree feedback means that it takes more time to gather, so its not practical to do more than a handful of times a year.

    —Julie Zhuo
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    Who should read The Making of a Manager?

    • New managers looking for tips
    • Team members who want to improve their relationships with their colleagues
    • Recruiters looking for a fresh perspective

    About the Author

    Julie Zhuo is the vice president of design at Facebook and holds a Computer Science degree from Stanford University. As well as exploring leadership, design and technology on her blog The Year of the Looking Glass, Zhuo also writes for publications such as the New York Times and Fast Company. 

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    The Making of a Manager FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Making of a Manager?

    The Making of a Manager teaches the key skills and mindset needed to excel in a managerial role.

    How long does it take to read The Making of a Manager?

    The reading time for The Making of a Manager varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Making of a Manager a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Making of a Manager is worth reading for its valuable insights and practical advice on becoming an effective manager.

    Who is the author of The Making of a Manager?

    The author of The Making of a Manager is Julie Zhuo.

    What to read after The Making of a Manager?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Making of a Manager, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The First-Time Manager by Loren B. Belker
    • Becoming the Boss by Lindsey Pollak
    • What You Don't Know about Leadership, But Probably Should by Jeffrey A. Kottler
    • Managing Up by Mary Abbajay
    • Everyone Deserves a Great Manager by Scott Jeffrey Miller
    • Under New Management by David Burkus
    • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
    • Inspired by Marty Cagan
    • It's the Manager by Jim Clifton
    • The Eight Essential People Skills for Project Management by Zachary Wong