The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

The Making of a Manager

The Making of a Manager

ISBN: 0753552892


„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.


“When you’re first made a manager, typically two things are true. One, you really don’t want to be like one of those bad managers you’ve suffered under. And two, you’ve got no map on how to avoid becoming one of those self-same bad managers. But now you do. Use this wise, practical book to master purpose, people, and process, and speed toward being a great manager right from the start.”
—Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit”

Take Aways

(All Excerpts From „The Making of a Manager“ by Julie Zhuo)

Rinse, repeat

“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.


“Running a team is hard because it ultimately boils down to people, and all of us are multifaceted and complex beings. Just like how there is no one way to go about being a person, there is no one way to go about managing a group of people.
And yet, working together in teams is how the world moves forward. We can create things far grander and more ambitious than anything we could have done alone. This is how battles are won, how innovation moves forward, how organizations succeed. This is how any remarkable achievement happens.”


“This is the crux of management: It is the belief that a team of people can achieve more than a single person going it alone. It is the realization that you don’t have to do everything yourself, be the best at everything yourself, or even know how to do everything yourself.
Your job, as a manager, is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.
It’s from this simple definition that everything else flows.”

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.”

“One of his conclusions is that making a team function well is harder than it looks. “Research consistently shows that teams underperform, despite all the extra resources they have,” he says. “That’s because problems with coordination and motivation typically chip away at the benefits of collaboration.”
Hackman’s research describes five conditions that increase a team’s odds of success: having a real team (one with clear boundaries and stable membership), a compelling direction, an enabling structure, a supportive organizational context, and expert coaching.”

“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.”

“The first big part of your job as a manager is to ensure that your team knows what success looks like and cares about achieving it. Getting everyone to understand and believe in your team’s purpose, whether it’s as specific as “make every customer who calls feel cared for” or as broad as “bring the world closer together,” requires understanding and believing in it yourself, and then sharing it at every opportunity—from writing emails to setting goals, from checking in with a single report to hosting large-scale meetings.
The next important bucket that managers think about is people, otherwise known as the who.”
“To manage people well, you must develop trusting relationships with them, understand their strengths and weaknesses (as well as your own), make good decisions about who should do what (including hiring and firing when necessary), and coach individuals to do their best.
Finally, the last bucket is process, which describes how your team works together. You might have a superbly talented team with a very clear understanding of what the end goal is, but if it’s not apparent how everyone’s supposed to work together or what the team’s values are, then even simple tasks can get enormously complicated. Who should do what by when?”

“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.”


“Leadership, on the other hand, is the particular skill of being able to guide and influence other people.
“What makes a good leader is that they eschew the spotlight in favor of spending time and energy to do what they need to do to support and protect their people,” writes Simon Sinek in Leaders Eat Last. In return, “We offer our blood and sweat and tears and do everything we can to see our leader’s vision come to life.”
Now, a manager who doesn’t know how to influence others isn’t going to be particularly effective at improving the outcomes of her team. So to be a great manager, one must certainly be a leader.”


“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?”


Remember our definition of management? A manager’s job is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together through influencing purpose, people, and process.

“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”

“Discuss top priorities:
  • 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”
“Collect 360-Degree Feedback for Maximum Objectivity
Three-hundred-and-sixty-degree feedback is feedback aggregated from multiple perspectives, which means it tends to be a more complete and objective view of how someone is doing. For example, if your report led a brainstorming session, instead of sending just your task-specific feedback, you might collect and share what the rest of the room thought as well”

“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.”

“The best way to give critical feedback is to deliver it directly and dispassionately. Plainly say what you perceive the issue to be, what made you feel that way, and how you’d like to work together to resolve the concern. Both number three (I’m concerned about the quality of work that I’ve been seeing from you recently) and four (Your last few deliverables weren’t comprehensive enough to hit the mark) accomplish that, although number four gets a slight edge because it’s more specific in describing the concern.
If you need a template, try this:”
  • “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.”

Managing Yourself

“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

Dunning-Kruger (again)

“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

Brain imaging studies show that when we picture ourselves doing something, the same parts of our brain are engaged as if we were actually doing that activity”

“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.”

Amazing Meetings

“As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is fond of saying, sometimes you have to “disagree and commit” for the sake of moving forward quickly.
A great decision-making meeting does the following:
  • 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”

Hiring Well

“Hiring doesn’t just matter at scale—even a single great hire can make a big difference in your team’s outcomes.
The most important thing to remember about hiring is this: hiring is not a problem to be solved but an opportunity to build the future of your organization.”

“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

“Once upon a time, a guy named Kevin who loved Kentucky whiskey wanted to create something that helped people make plans with their friends, check into different locations, and post photos of the gatherings. He quickly hacked together an app called Burbn and launched it into the world. He persuaded his friend Mike to join him, and together they carefully observed how people used their app.

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.

Today, Instagram is used by more than 1 billion people all over the world. In 2012, it became part of the Facebook family after a $1 billion acquisition.
The origin story of every great company reveals a common theme: The path to success is never a straight line. It’s not about having the single, brilliant, lightning-flash insight that suddenly wins the game. Instead, it’s about consistent planning and execution—you try what seems like a good idea. You do it quickly. You keep your mind open and curious. You learn. Then you scrap what failed and double down on what’s working. You rinse and repeat, maybe over and over and over again. This process is what makes things happen.”

Excellent Execution

“Here are some ways to tell if your team is executing well:
  • 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

“The second error is assuming that nobody wants to take on hard problems. In fact, the most talented employees aren’t looking for special treatment or “easy” projects. They want to be challenged. There is no greater sign of trust than handing your report an intricately tangled knot that you believe she can pull apart, even if you’re not sure how.

“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.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has been attributed as saying, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

“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.”

Nurturing Culture

“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”