Book Review  

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhou

The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhou

This book contains the personal musings and reflections of Julie Zhuo, as she gained experience in management and leadership roles at Facebook.

Ms Zhuo takes you through her own gathered wisdom and perspective on what management is.

She covers topics such as feedback, managing meetings, the one-to-one, and leadership of different team sizes and different types of report.

The ideas and insights are offered are across a range of scenarios. Ms Zhuo’s descriptive style and quirky drawings at the beginning of each chapter bring the topics to life. The reader is often positioned as a ‘fly on the wall’ as Ms Zhuo recounts her successes, challenges and her learnings.

The references used throughout to echo or reinforce Ms Zhuo’s views are extensive. She discusses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the Kruger-Dunning effect, Parkinson’s law and much in between.

The chapter on managing amazing meetings emphasises the benefits of having clear objectives for the meeting, such as making a decision, sharing information, giving feedback, generating ideas or strengthening relationships.

Having experienced years in the corporate world, for me these insights may be quoted and documented elsewhere. However they have not been as widely applied as Ms Zhuo or I would like.

Ms Zhuo’s chapter on hiring well is a useful oversight of classic ideas that are personalised with her own experience.

Individually all her points make sense and can be potted together as wisdom. The challenge for a new manager is translating these thoughts, ideas or principles into actions that consistently lead to effective hiring.

Other areas covered include managing yourself, the art of feedback, making things happen and nurturing culture. Ms Zhuo’s personal take on these subjects adds to the general mix of ideas that she shares.

She also provides interesting insights into the priorities and processes of management within Facebook.

These insights are arguably the key selling point of the book. Personally, more detail on the challenges faced day-to-day of managing teams and projects in that organisation would increase my engagement further.

In particular, this could include the attention the leadership at Facebook needs to pay to ethics and making positive contributions to wider society. However, I suspect that is a book yet to be written.

Dave Eager is senior manager at Chase de Vere’s Basingstoke office

Published by Portfolio