The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You
„The Making of a Manager“ ist ein Buch von Julie Zhuo, in dem sie ihre Erfahrungen als Managerin bei Facebook teilt und Ratschläge gibt, wie man erfolgreich Führung übernimmt. Sie beschreibt, wie wichtig es ist, sich auf die Bedürfnisse und Ziele der Mitarbeiter zu konzentrieren, klare Kommunikation zu pflegen und Entscheidungen auf Basis von Daten zu treffen. Das Buch bietet auch praktische Tipps für die Behandlung von Herausforderungen, die Manager in ihrem täglichen Arbeitsleben begegnen können, wie z.B. Meetings effektiver zu gestalten, Feedback zu geben und Mitarbeiter zu entwickeln. Insgesamt ist „The Making of a Manager“ ein nützliches Handbuch für neue oder erfahrene Manager, die ihre Führungsfähigkeiten verbessern möchten.
(All Excerpts From „The Making of a Manager“ by Julie Zhuo)
“But this is how anything in life goes: You try something. You figure out what worked and what didn’t. You file away lessons for the future. And then you get better. Rinse, repeat.”
Output, not activity
“Andy Grove, founder and CEO of Intel and a legendary manager of his time, wrote that when it comes to evaluations, one should look at “the output of the work unit and not simply the activity involved. Obviously, you measure a salesman by the orders he gets (output), not by the calls he makes (activity).”
“Being awesome at the job means playing the long game and building a reputation for excellence. Through thick or thin, in spite of the hundreds of things calling for your attention every day, never forget what you’re ultimately here to do: help your team achieve great outcomes.”
“purpose, people, and process.”
“The purpose is the outcome your team is trying to accomplish, otherwise known as the why. Why do you wake up and choose to do this thing instead of the thousands of other things you could be doing? Why pour your time and energy into this particular goal with this particular group of people? What would be different about the world if your team were wildly successful? Everyone on the team should have a similar picture of why does our work matter? If this purpose is missing or unclear, then you may experience conflicts or mismatched expectations.”
“In a team setting, it’s impossible for a group of people to coordinate what needs to get done without spending time on it. ”
“Purpose, people, process. The why, the who, and the how. A great manager constantly asks herself how she can influence these levers to improve her team’s outcomes.”
Context always matters
In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a famous theory, known today as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, to explain human motivation. The basic idea is that certain needs trump others and you must satisfy lower-level needs before focusing on higher-level ones.”
You have to enjoy what you do
“you have to enjoy the day-to-day of management and want to do it”
“adaptability is a key trait of great managers”
“If I told you that 70 percent of your day would be spent in meetings, what’s your immediate reaction? That number might be an exaggeration, but if your first thought is No problem! then you’re the kind of person who is likely to get energy from interacting with others.”
“Because management is all about people, and each person brings his or her own unique experiences, motivations, hopes, fears, and quirks to the table, managers face their fair share of hard conversations. You may need to tell someone that she isn’t meeting the expectations of her role. Even worse, you may have to look her in the eyes and tell her she no longer has a job. ”
Inspire, not tell
“the best outcomes come from inspiring people to action, not telling them what to do.”
“You can be someone’s manager, but if that person does not trust or respect you, you will have limited ability to influence him. I did not suddenly become a “leader” the day my title officially changed. On the contrary, some of my reports were initially skeptical, and it took time for us to develop a strong relationship.”
“What to Take Advantage Of”
“The biggest advantage of being new is that you have a window of time, usually about three months, when everyone recognizes that you’re the new kid on the block”
“Use the newbie card to your advantage by asking as many questions of as many people as you can.”
Trust – show and tell
“One tactic a friend of mine uses to buck this trend is to address the elephant in the room: “Since I’m new, you might not feel comfortable sharing everything with me right away. I hope to earn your trust over time. I’ll start by sharing more about myself, including my biggest failure ever . . .” I love this anecdote because it’s the epitome of “show, don’t tell.” What better way to set the tone that it’s okay to talk about anything than by diving headfirst into revealing a personal vulnerability?”
“EVERYTHING ALWAYS GOES BACK TO PEOPLE
“Why would someone not be motivated to do great work? One possible answer is that he doesn’t have a clear picture of what great work looks like. Another possibility is that the role doesn’t speak to his aspirations; he can, but he’d rather be doing something else. Or perhaps he thinks nothing will change if he puts in more effort—there will be no rewards if things improve, and no penalties if they don’t, so why bother?”
“You must trust people, or life becomes impossible,” the writer Anton Chekhov once said. This is true of all relationships—friendships, marriages, partnerships—and the manager–report relationship is no different.”
managing is caring
Time & Energy
“The most precious resource you have is your own time and energy, and when you spend it on your team, it goes a long way toward building healthy relationships. This is why one-on-one meetings (“1:1s” for short) are such an important part of management. I recommend no less than a weekly 1:1 with every report for thirty minutes, and more time if needed.”
“Remember that your job is to be a multiplier for your people”
- What are the one, two, or three most critical outcomes for your report and how can you help her tackle these challenges?
- Calibrate what “great” looks like: Do you have a shared vision of what you’re working toward? Are you in sync about goals or expectations?
- Share feedback: What feedback can you give that will help your report, and what can your report tell you that will make you more effective as a manager?
- Reflect on how things are going: Once in a while, it’s useful to zoom out and talk about your report’s general state of mind—how is he feeling on the whole? What’s making him satisfied or dissatisfied? Have any of his goals changed? What has he learned recently and what does he want to learn going forward?”
Why – the coach
“Why questions? Because a coach’s best tool for understanding what’s going on is to ask.”
- “Identify: These questions focus on what really matters for your report and what topics are worth spending more time on.
- What’s top of mind for you right now?
- What priorities are you thinking about this week?
- What’s the best use of our time today?”
- “Understand: Once you’ve identified a topic to discuss, these next questions get at the root of the problem and what can be done about it.
- What does your ideal outcome look like?
- What’s hard for you in getting to that outcome?
- What do you really care about?
- What do you think is the best course of action?
- What’s the worst-case scenario you’re worried about?
- Support: These questions zero in on how you can be of greatest service to your report.
- How can I help you?
- What can I do to make you more successful?
- What was the most useful part of our conversation today?”
“Brené Brown, research expert in courage, shame, and empathy, begs to differ. She proposes that there is enormous power in expressing vulnerability: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
- “I don’t know the answer. What do you think?”
- “I want to come clean and apologize for what I did/said the other day. . . .”
- “One of my personal growth areas this half is . . .”
- “I’m afraid I don’t know enough to help you with that problem. Here’s someone you should talk to instead. . . .”
“Recognition for hard work, valuable skills, helpful advice, or good values can be hugely motivating if it feels genuine and specific.”
Don’t have assholes in your team
“Stanford professor Robert I. Sutton described this phenomenon in his now famous book The No Asshole Rule. He defines an asshole as someone who makes other people feel worse about themselves or who specifically targets people less powerful than him or her.”
“Over the years, I’ve also had some wonderful team members leave because they were looking for something different. At first, it was hard not to take each departure as a personal failure. I couldn’t reconcile how someone I liked so much could not work out with a team I cared so much about. It felt like LEGO pieces not fitting together, like peas and carrots refusing to cooperate. Surely I had done something wrong!”
“Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch argues that protecting low performers only increases the damage when, inevitably, a manager is forced to let them go. “What I think is brutal and ‘false kindness’ is keeping people around who aren’t going to grow and prosper. There’s no cruelty like waiting and telling people late in their careers that they don’t belong.”
- “What a great job looks like for your report, compared to a mediocre or bad job
- What advice you have to help your report get started on the right foot
- Common pitfalls your report should avoid”
“The best way to make your feedback heard is to make the listener feel safe, and to show that you’re saying it because you care about her and want her to succeed. If you come off with even a whiff of an ulterior motive—you want to be right, you’re judging her, you’re annoyed or impatient—the message won’t get through.”
“Does this feedback resonate with you? Why or why not?” Most of the time when I ask this question, the answer is yes, and now the person has both acknowledged and reflected on the feedback, so it’s more likely to stick. If the answer is no, that’s fine as well—now we can discuss why that is, and what would make the feedback more useful.”
- “When I [heard/observed/reflected on] your [action/behavior/output], I felt concerned because . . .
- I’d like to understand your perspective and talk about how we can resolve this.”
“Every manager feels like an imposter sometimes. Every manager was once new, stumbling through interviews and 1:1s and awkward conversations. It’s so common that instead of pretending like we are all ducks gliding effortlessly on the surface of the water, we should own up to the furious paddling that is happening beneath.”
“The facets of our personality are like the ingredients that come together for a recipe.”
- “How would the people who know and like me best (family, significant other, close friends) describe me in three words?
- MY ANSWER: thoughtful, enthusiastic, driven
- What three qualities do I possess that I am the proudest of?
- MY ANSWER: curious, reflective, optimistic
- When I look back on something I did that was successful, what personal traits do I give credit to?
- MY ANSWER: vision, determination, humility
- What are the top three most common pieces of positive feedback that I’ve received from my manager or peers?
- MY ANSWER: principled, fast learner, long-term thinker
“There’s even a term to describe the cognitive bias where people who aren’t actually very skilled have a tendency to think they’re better than they are: the Dunning-Kruger effect.”
- “Ask your manager to help you calibrate yourself through the following two questions:
- What opportunities do you see for me to do more of what I do well? What do you think are the biggest things holding me back from having greater impact?
- What skills do you think a hypothetical perfect person in my role would have? For each skill, how would you rate me against that ideal on a scale of one to five?
“Close Your Eyes and Visualize
“Another study compared people who went to the gym every day with people who imagined themselves working out. The group who went to the gym every day increased their muscle strength by 30 percent; the group who ran through the workout in their heads increased their strength by 13.5 percent—almost half the benefit!”
“Visualization is a powerful tool that doesn’t require much—only a few minutes and a quiet spot to relax. Develop the habit to give yourself a boost of self-assurance for whatever comes your way.”
“Studies show that if you write down five things you’re grateful for every night, you’ll feel happier in the long run. When you need to build your confidence, remember to do the same by focusing on all the things that you are doing well.”
“When I started to see 1:1s with my manager as an opportunity for focused learning, I got so much more out of it. Even when I’m not grappling with a problem, asking open-ended questions like, “How do you decide which meetings to attend?” or “How do you approach selling a candidate?” takes advantage of my manager’s know-how and teaches me something new.”
“New managers sometimes ask me, “A decade into the job, what’s something you’re still continuing to learn?” My answer is, “How to be the best leader I can while staying true to who I am.”
- Gets a decision made (obviously)
- Includes the people most directly affected by the decision as well as a clearly designated decision-maker
- Presents all credible options objectively and with relevant background information, and includes the team’s recommendation if there is one
- Gives equal airtime to dissenting opinions and makes people feel that they were heard”
“One exercise I do every January is to map out where I hope my team will be by the end of the year. I create a future org chart, analyze gaps in skills, strengths, or experiences, and make a list of open roles to hire for.
Making Things Happen
It turns out that what they built was complicated and not particularly useful. Users weren’t checking in much, which was the main point of the service. But there was one feature that seemed to be sticking—the photo-sharing part. People were posting snaps of everyday life—streets and restaurants, lattes and beers, friends and selfies. Fascinated, Kevin and Mike dug in to this use case. They studied all the ways people shared photos using their phones. A few months later, they decided to pivot their app. They cut out the planning and location check-in features and made the focus all about simple, beautiful photo sharing. Oh, and they changed the name, too, from Burbn to Instagram.
- Lists of projects or tasks are prioritized from most to least important, with the higher-up items receiving more time and attention.
- There is an efficient process for decision-making that everyone understands and trusts.
“The team moves quickly, especially with reversible decisions. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says, “Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.”
After a decision is made, everyone commits (even those who disagree) and moves speedily to make it happen. Without new information, there is no second-guessing the decision, no pocket vetoing, and no foot dragging.
When important new information surfaces, there is an expedient process to examine if and how current plans should change as a result.
Every task has a who and a by when. Owners set and reliably deliver on commitments.
The team is resilient and constantly seeking to learn. Every failure makes the team stronger because they don’t make the same mistake twice.”
“Some years ago, I started sending out an email to my team summarizing our weekly progress. In the beginning, it was easy for me to sit down, run through all the projects in my head, and jot down the important highlights.”
Leading a Growing Team
“To create a shared vision of what’s important, ask yourself two things. The first is, What are the biggest priorities right now for our team? Then, talk about those with your reports and discuss how they might play a role. For example, if the company is in the midst of executing a new strategy, talk about why that’s happening and how your teams will be affected. Similarly, if an impending launch is keeping you up at night, you and your reports should discuss how everyone can do their part to ensure things go smoothly.”
“People trump projects—a great team is a prerequisite for great work.
“Change is hard, but trust your instincts. Would you hire this person again if the role were open? If the answer is no, make the move.”
“A manager I admire once told me that an organization’s culture is best understood not from reading what’s written on its corporate website but from seeing what it’s willing to give up for its values. For example, many teams say that they care about their employees fully owning problems. Nobody’s going to admit, “Actually, we like to shirk responsibility and blame mistakes on others.”
“One of the things Mark Zuckerberg has continued to do for more than ten years is hold an internal Q&A on Friday afternoons, where anybody at the company can ask him any question and get an honest answer. These questions can be about Facebook’s future direction, recent decisions Mark made, company policies, or even Mark’s personal opinions on the latest news. Some of these questions can be extremely direct—for example, “X seems like a bad idea—why are we doing it?”
“The Journey Is 1% Finished”