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The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo: A Book Summary

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If you’re looking for a career book that is both insightful and enjoyable to read, The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo is a great choice.

The author draws on her own experiences as well as interviews with managers and employees from various companies to share advice on how to become an effective manager.

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’ve been a manager for years, this book has something for you.

The Making of a Manager: Brief Summary

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo is a book that offers advice and insights for managers at all levels. Zhuo draws on her own experiences as a manager at Facebook, as well as research and interviews with other managers, to provide readers with a comprehensive look at what it takes to be a successful leader.

The book covers topics such as setting goals, giving feedback, handling conflict, and building teams. While aimed at those who are currently in management positions, The Making of a Manager is also an invaluable resource for anyone who is looking to move into a leadership role.

With its clear and concise advice, the book is sure to help any reader reach their full potential as a manager

The Making of a Manager

Favorite quote:

“As you manage more and more people, you’ll play a bigger role in shaping culture. Don’t underestimate the influence that you can have. Even if you’re not the CEO”


AllNewBusiness Rating: 4.7/5
Amazon Rating: 4.6/5

The Making of a Manager Book Cover
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Solving the Procrastination Puzzle
The Making of a Manager Book Cover

AllNewBusiness Rating: 4.7/5

Amazon Rating: 4.6/5


Chapter 1: What Is Management?

Chapter 1: Making of a Manager Illustration

In “Chapter 1: What Is Management?” of The Making of a Manager, author Julie Zhuo delves into the role and responsibilities of a manager.

A manager’s job is not just to micromanage employees or delegate tasks, but to focus on getting better outcomes from the team as a whole. What sets great managers apart is their ability to inspire, coach, and make decisions that benefit the team and company.

Zhuo poses thought-provoking questions such as “Do I Like Talking with People?

Can I Provide Stability for an Emotionally Challenging Situation?” to help readers determine if they have what it takes to be a great manager.

The chapter also distinguishes between managerial skills and leadership skills, emphasizing that while every manager should also be a strong leader, not all leaders necessarily have the same abilities required for management.

Chapter 2: Your First Three Months

Chapter 2 Making of a Manager Illustration

The second chapter of The Making of a Manager details the different paths that one may take toward transitioning into a managerial role.

Whether it’s through becoming a newly minted manager under an experienced mentor, forging new territory as a pioneer, stepping into the shoes of a previous boss, or being groomed as the successor, each route has its own challenges and opportunities.

Whatever your path may be, the first three months in any new management position will set the tone for your tenure. This chapter outlines strategies for navigating these initial months, such as creating a united team culture and setting goals and expectations.

It also delves into potential pitfalls to watch out for when taking on a management role, such as inadvertently dehumanizing employees or becoming too closely tied to specific projects.

Chapter 3: Leading a Small Team

Chapter 3 Making of a Manager Illustration

In chapter three Julie Zhuo discusses the importance of building trust with your team and helping them play to their strengths in the first few months of being a manager.

She emphasizes that everything comes back to people, and that building trust is the most important ingredient for a successful team. Through vulnerability and vulnerability in communication, managers can demonstrate that they are human rather than boss-like.

By quickly making people moves such as switching roles or changing teams, individuals can quickly find where they will thrive and contribute best to the group dynamic.

Chapter 4: The Art of Feedback

Chapter 4 Making of a Manager Illustration

In Chapter 4 of The Making of a Manager, we are taught that great feedback is task-specific and frequently given, behavior-focused and carefully shared, and includes 360-degree perspectives.

Most importantly, feedback only counts if it leads to improvement or positive action from the receiving party.

The chapter provides tips on delivering bad news in a constructive manner, including acknowledging emotions and recommending steps for improvement.

Chapter 5: Managing Yourself

Chapter 5 Making of a Manager Illustration

In Chapter 5 of The Making of a Manager, author Julie Zhuo breaks down the importance of self-reflection and self-care in order to be an effective leader.

She discusses how everyone experiences imposter syndrome at some point, but we must be brutally honest with ourselves in order to understand our strengths and weaknesses.

To navigate these feelings, it is important to establish boundaries and ask for help from people who we can be real with. It is also crucial to constantly solicit feedback and view every interaction as an opportunity for mentorship.

By practicing the art of self-management and prioritizing our own well-being, we can actively work towards becoming a better, confident manager.

Chapter 6: Amazing Meetings

Chapter 6 Making of a Manager Illustration

Chapter 6 explains the importance of setting clear goals for meetings before they start. Zhuo highlights the value of only inviting necessary attendees and giving them a chance to come prepared.

During the meeting, she stresses the importance of creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable contributing and giving feedback.

And lastly, Julie reminds us that not every meeting is necessary and it’s important to know when one can be skipped altogether.

With these tips in mind, we have the power to make our meetings productive and actually accomplish what we set out to do.

Chapter 7: Hiring Well

Chapter 7 Making of a Manager Illustration

This Chapter discusses the importance and responsibility of hiring well. It’s not enough to just hire anyone for your team- you need to design it intentionally, considering skillsets and personalities that will complement each other.

While hiring can be a gamble, carefully making smart bets and taking the long view with top talent can pay off in the end. And it’s important to establish a culture within your organization where hiring well is always a priority.

By focusing on these principles, you can build a strong and successful team.

Chapter 8: Making Things Happen

Chapter 8 Making of a Manager Illustration

In Chapter 8 Julie Zhuo emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision and creating a realistic plan to achieve it.

She advises leaders to focus on doing a few things exceptionally well instead of spreading themselves too thin.

And while having a perfect strategy can be helpful, it’s ultimately the execution that makes things happen.

It’s also important to remember that good processes are always evolving and adapting as needed.

Related: 16 Amazon Leadership Principles for Success in Business

Chapter 9: Leading a Growing Team

Chapter 9 Making of a Manager Illustration

Chapter 9 discusses the challenges and opportunities associated with leading a growing team.

One difference between managing a small team versus a large team is the need for delegation. As the team grows, it becomes increasingly important to empower your direct reports to make decisions and handle tasks on their own.

This can be a delicate balance – delegating too much or too little can lead to problems down the line. And this is often the difference between an average manager and a great manager.

Another key aspect of managing a larger team is learning to support managers who may struggle in their roles.

It’s important to identify their difficult areas and communicate what matters most in their positions, while also looking for talent outside the company to round out the team’s strengths.

Chapter 10: Nurturing Culture

Chapter 10 Making of a Manager Illustration

In “Chapter 10: Nurturing Culture,” the importance of solid and clear company culture is emphasized.

It’s crucial to know what kind of team you want to be a part of and make sure your employees share the same values.

Experienced managers should never stop talking about and reinforcing these values through their actions.

It’s also important to create the right incentives and rewards to encourage positive behavior that aligns with company values.

Creating traditions that celebrate those values can help reinforce them within the team and create a stronger sense of unity and purpose.

The Making of a Manager: Wrap up

In this book, Julie Zhuo shows that an adventurous and fulfilling career as a manager is possible.

A new manager will find engaging and accessible examples throughout the book. There is guidance for new and unexpected situations and how to deal with them.

Overwhelmed managers wondering how they’ll go through whatever befalls them will also find fresh perspectives on ways to tackle problems.

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