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SimpleLeadership Podcast

SimpleLeadership specifically focuses on improving the craft of software engineering leadership. As a VP of Engineering & CTO I am acutely aware of the lack of good resources available for new and existing software engineering managers. SimpleLeadership is designed for both new and experienced software & technology managers who want to build high-performing teams, better motivate & mentor their employees, reduce attrition and advance their career. It is for people who want to go beyond just being a manager and become a true leader. In this interview based show I ask each guest to share their journey from individual contributor to software engineering manager and provide any guidance on the transition. The SimpleLeadership Podcast will present real and actionable stories from people who have navigated their way from being an individual contributor into a software engineering manager. We will also hear from experts on specifics of team dynamics, motivation, feedback, leadership and many more aspects of being a successful engineering manager.
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Now displaying: June, 2019
Jun 9, 2019

What does it take to up your game and improve your management skills? Do you need to read better books or get around the right environment? Here to help us dig in and understand some key aspects of an effective manger is, Jocelyn Goldfein.

Jocelyn is a technology executive and investor. She is the managing director and a general partner at venture capital firm Zetta Venture Partners. Previously she was a director of engineering at Facebook and vice president of engineering at VMware. Jocelyn is passionate about scaling products, teams, and companies, and she cares deeply about STEM education.

In our conversation, Jocelyn talks about the lessons she learned as a manager, how to create a positive work culture, advice for leaders, how to encourage diversity, and much more. You’ll want to listen closely to the helpful insights that Jocelyn has to share!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:40] I introduce my guest, Jocelyn Goldfein
  • [1:50] Jocelyn talks about her background in tech.
  • [9:00] What lessons did Jocelyn learn from her early years as a manager?
  • [12:00] Motivation is one of management's underused superpowers.
  • [14:30] How to create a healthy work culture.
  • [22:15] What did Jocelyn do at Facebook to streamline their hiring process?
  • [37:00] Advice for engineering leaders at startups.
  • [39:50] What can leaders do to create a more diverse workplace?
  • [48:00] Resource recommendations from Jocelyn.

Lessons learned

How do you go from zero management or leadership experience and expect to hit the ground running? The truth is - you can’t! Most people thrust into a sudden leadership role will struggle at first; no one is born with solid management skills. It is your responsibility to be flexible and learn as you go.

Unfortunately, in most situations, someone won’t come along and hold your hand, showing you exactly what you need to do. If you can find a mentor or a peer who has also been thrust into a new area of responsibility, then learn from them. Leadership is often lonely, but it doesn’t have to be.

Motivation is a manager’s superpower

Did you know that motivation is a manager’s secret superpower? It’s true! While some managers will try to dangle carrots or get their team members to perform with sticks, good managers will search for a deeper motivation. Remember, people are not systems or machines; they don’t always respond in predictable or logical ways.

If you want to improve your management skills, you need to focus on praise and encouragement. Don’t be so quick to jump to financial incentives - most people just need to feel like they are moving in a positive direction and accomplishing their goals.

How to create a healthy culture

What does a healthy culture in an organization look like? Does it all come down to putting the right words on the wall or the right onboarding video? Culture starts from the top. Jocelyn Goldfein’s definition of culture is the behavior you reward and punish. What behavior does your organization reward and punish?

If your successful leaders embody the vision and values of the organization, then you are headed in the right direction. You can learn more about Jocelyn’s perspective on building a healthy work culture by reading her blog post located in the resources section at the end of this post.

Diversity in the workplace

One of the key aspects of improving your management skills is learning to pay attention to the level of diversity in your workplace. Diversity is a critical component, especially when it comes to the technology sector. If you want to see your team’s potential increase - then pay attention to the level of diversity!

There is a massive opportunity right now for tech companies to tap into underrepresented groups in the workforce. Don’t be afraid or worried about diversity - embrace it. Start with an assessment - where is your organization at, right now? Is there a sufficient level of diversity and inclusion, or is there room to grow?

To learn more about improving your management skills by focusing on diversity and other helpful topics, make sure to catch my full conversation with Jocelyn on this episode of Simple Leadership - you don’t want to miss it!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jocelyn Goldfein

Connect With Christian McCarrick and SimpleLeadership

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