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The Making of a Manager
Cover of The Making of a Manager
The Making of a Manager
What to Do When Everyone Looks to You
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Instant Wall Street Journal Bestseller!
Congratulations, you're a manager! After you pop the champagne, accept the shiny new title, and step into this thrilling next chapter of your career, the truth descends like a fog: you don't really know what you're doing.

That's exactly how Julie Zhuo felt when she became a rookie manager at the age of 25. She stared at a long list of logistics—from hiring to firing, from meeting to messaging, from planning to pitching—and faced a thousand questions and uncertainties. How was she supposed to spin teamwork into value? How could she be a good steward of her reports' careers? What was the secret to leading with confidence in new and unexpected situations?
Now, having managed dozens of teams spanning tens to hundreds of people, Julie knows the most important lesson of all: great managers are made, not born. If you care enough to be reading this, then you care enough to be a great manager.
The Making of a Manager is a modern field guide packed everyday examples and transformative insights, including:
  *  How to tell a great manager from an average manager (illustrations included)
  *  When you should look past an awkward interview and hire someone anyway
  *  How to build trust with your reports through not being a boss
  *  Where to look when you lose faith and lack the answers
Whether you're new to the job, a veteran leader, or looking to be promoted, this is the handbook you need to be the kind of manager you wish you had.
Instant Wall Street Journal Bestseller!
Congratulations, you're a manager! After you pop the champagne, accept the shiny new title, and step into this thrilling next chapter of your career, the truth descends like a fog: you don't really know what you're doing.

That's exactly how Julie Zhuo felt when she became a rookie manager at the age of 25. She stared at a long list of logistics—from hiring to firing, from meeting to messaging, from planning to pitching—and faced a thousand questions and uncertainties. How was she supposed to spin teamwork into value? How could she be a good steward of her reports' careers? What was the secret to leading with confidence in new and unexpected situations?
Now, having managed dozens of teams spanning tens to hundreds of people, Julie knows the most important lesson of all: great managers are made, not born. If you care enough to be reading this, then you care enough to be a great manager.
The Making of a Manager is a modern field guide packed everyday examples and transformative insights, including:
  *  How to tell a great manager from an average manager (illustrations included)
  *  When you should look past an awkward interview and hire someone anyway
  *  How to build trust with your reports through not being a boss
  *  Where to look when you lose faith and lack the answers
Whether you're new to the job, a veteran leader, or looking to be promoted, this is the handbook you need to be the kind of manager you wish you had.
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  • From the book Introduction

    Great Managers Are Made, Not Born

    I remember the meeting when my manager asked me to become a manager.

    It was unexpected, like going for your daily run and tripping over a pirate chest. Oh, I thought, how intriguing.

    We were sitting in a ten-person conference room, kitty-corner from each other. “Our team is growing,” my manager explained. “We need another manager, and you get along with everyone. What do you think?”

    I was twenty-five, working at a start-up. All that I knew of management could be neatly summarized into two words, meetings and PROMOTION. I mean, this was a promotion, wasn’t it? Everyone knows this conversation was the equivalent of Harry Potter getting a visit from Hagrid on a dark and stormy night, the first step in an adventurous and fulfilling career. I wasn’t about to turn down that kind of invitation.

    So I said yes.

    It was only later, walking out of the room, that I thought about the details of what she had said. I got along with everyone. Surely there was more to management than that. How much more? I was about to find out.



    I remember my first meeting with a direct report.

    I arrived five minutes past our scheduled time, in a rush and flustered by my lateness. This is a terrible start, I thought to myself. I could see him through the windowed door of the conference room—the same one I had met my manager in previously—eyes glued to his phone. Just a day earlier, we had both been designers on the same team, sitting in our adjacent pods, working on our respective projects while lobbing rapid-fire design feedback across the aisle. Then the announcement was made, and now I was his manager.

    I’m not nervous, 
    I told myself. We’re going to have a great conversation. About what, I wasn’t entirely sure. I just wanted this meeting to feel normal, like it had yesterday and the day before that. If he didn’t love the fact that I was his manager, then at the very least I wanted him to be cool with it.

    I’m not nervous.

    I walked in. He glanced up from his phone, and I’ll never forget the expression on his face. It had all the surliness of a teenager forced to attend his ten-year-old cousin’s Pokémon-themed birthday party.

    “Hi,” I said, trying to keep my voice level. “So, uh, what are you working on right now?”

    His scowl only deepened, settling in like a bear for the winter. I could feel the sweat starting to form on my face, the hot rush of blood pounding in my ears.

    I wasn’t a better designer than this guy. I wasn’t smarter or more experienced. The look on his face alone was enough to dispel me of any notion that he’d “be cool” with the fact that I was his manager. The message was as clear as if it had been written in giant black Sharpie:

    You have no idea what you’re doing.

    At that moment, I felt he was absolutely right.



    Three years later, after that fateful conversation with my manager, my role shifted again. Our design team had almost doubled in size since I started. Having made it through my first few years at a hyper-growth start-up, I thought I was used to change. I was no stranger to dealing with the firsts or rolling with the punches.

    Still, I was unprepared for just how much the new manager role would stretch me. For one thing, I was managing product designers, a discipline I didn’t even know existed before I...
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What to Do When Everyone Looks to You
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