So You Think You Want to Manage?

A perspective on what management is and isn’t.

Photo credit: Bethan

Management is the practice of constantly identifying what a team needs in order to be successful and then delivering on those needs.

  1. Listening and learning about people’s aspirations and frustrations.
  2. Mentoring and advising, generally in the form of providing frameworks rather than here’s-what-you-should-be-doing’s (which is a whole topic for another time).
  3. Designing better and more efficient ways for people to communicate, work, or learn.
  4. Context-switching often in your day-to-day.
  5. Playing a key role in the flow of communication (writing, sharing, meeting, presenting).
  6. Owning the outcome of the team’s successes and failures, even if you won’t make all the decisions yourself.
  1. Having a strong sense of control in shaping the work such that it bears your mark.
  2. Learning and investing in the craft of building.
  3. Focusing almost single-mindedly on the problem at hand for hours at a time, going for both breadth and depth in exploring the solution space.
  4. Getting deep into the details of what you are building, even if few others will appreciate or notice it.



A collection of essays by Julie Zhuo on design, building products, and observing life.

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Julie Zhuo

Building Sundial. Former Product Design VP @ FB. Author of The Making of a Manager Find me @joulee. I love people, nuance, and systems.