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Book Club: Chapter 7

G&F’s book club covered The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo in our 7th meeting. The book discussion was led by Cassidy.


Why The Making of a Manger?

At Gray & Fick, we are committed to investing in one another’s growth. That growth often includes stepping into management type roles. As our company continues to develop and more members of our team are taking on leadership roles, we wanted to focus on preparing ourselves for the responsibilities and challenges that may come with that. Julie Zhuo’s The Making of a Manager is an informative guide filled with tangible anecdotes targeted to a new-to-the-role manager. The book works to build the confidence and compassion a person needs to lead a team with great results. Our office found Zhuo’s emphasis on brand new managers immensely relatable with practical advice that we can easily implement. This advice included how to build trust, how to provide feedback, and how to run meetings. We also appreciated that she focuses on not only how to manage others, but also how to manage yourself.


Learning how to be a great leader means learning about your superpowers and flaws, learning how to navigate the obstacles in your head, and learning how to learn. With these tools comes the confidence that you’re meant to be here just as you are – no masks or pretenses needed – and that you’re ready for whatever challenges lie ahead." Julie Zhuo

The Takeaways

The following items are what our team most resonated with:

  1. 360 Feedback/Group Reviews – The book explains the benefit of both managers and reports receiving feedback in both directions. We thought this was a great way to build trust between a team and focuses on not only improving the reports but also improving the managers!

  2. 1 on 1 Meetings - Zhuo emphasizes the importance of having regular 1 on 1 meetings between managers and their reports. We loved the idea of having set times where our goals, ideas and concerns could be listened to and where we would be able to receive individual and tailored feedback.

  3. Running all meetings with purpose - We currently have tools we use to run our project specific and more technical meetings. We liked the idea outlined in the book that this same approach of having a meeting goal, an agenda and a boxed out slot of time should apply to 1 on 1 and feedback meetings between managers and reports.

  4. Building people up – The book indicates that great managers always try to help their reports up the ladder. We agreed with this idea and believe that great managers should coach with the intention of replacing themselves.

  5. Making your environment work for you – When working to manage yourself, Zhou promotes evaluating when you are your most productive, what distracts or impedes your work, and what are your motivators. As a group, we agreed this was a good take away that our team can focus on. Our management team even encouraged coming to talk to them if there is something that they can do to improve employee’s physical working environment.


Book Club: Chapter 8

We are already looking forward to our next book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. It is always great to focus on the positives, but it is equally important to focus on what is holding us back. Patrick Lencioni’s book identifies the common reasons why and how teams can fail. We are hoping that by being aware of possible team dysfunctions, we will be able to face any obstacles we encounter head on!


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