At the age of just 25, Julie Zhuo was offered the job of a lifetime – managing Facebook’s design team. More amazingly still, this role was Zhuo’s first managerial role. Thrown in at the deep end, Zhuo soon asked herself, “What does a manager actually do?”
In her early days as a manager, Zhuo believed that her job consisted of holding meetings with team members, giving them feedback on how they’re doing and working out which subordinates to promote or to fire. However, she soon realized that her approach was short-sighted as it focused on basic daily tasks, rather than long-term goals.
After a few years of experience under her belt, Zhuo became more strategic. She realized that a manager’s role was actually to focus on wider issues. These include ensuring her team was working effectively together, helping team members achieve their career aims and developing processes to improve efficiency without any hiccups along the way.
But now, with nearly a decade of management experience behind her, Zhuo believes that the answer to what a manager does is far more concise than either of her previous lists capture. The job of a manager, as it turns out, is to achieve improved outcomes from your team. As you work toward this goal, you’ll begin to recognize the difference between a good manager and a mediocre one.
How? Well, many people assume a box-ticking attitude when considering whether a manager is a good one. For instance, you might assess whether they are hard-working, likable or good at giving presentations. If they check all three boxes, then they must be a good manager. Right?
Wrong. Actually, only the outcome of the team they manage can answer this question. In other words, the team of a good manager will achieve good results – consistently. So, ask yourself what outcome your team or business seeks. If, like Zhuo, the outcome you’re looking for is great design, then remember that an excellent manager’s team will consistently
pitch you great designs, whereas a mediocre manager’s team will pitch you mediocre designs.
A great manager is one whose team gets great results. It really is that simple – no box-ticking or long lists necessary.