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June 9, 2019 50 min

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
  • BOOK: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
  • BOOK: Debugging the Development Process
  • Connect with Jocelyn Goldfein
  • Jocelyn Goldfein - Los Altos, California | Professional Profile | LinkedIn
  • Jocelyngoldfein
  • Jocelyn Goldfein – Medium
  • Jocelyn Goldfein | AngelList
  • Jocelyn Goldfein (@jgoldfein) · Twitter
  • Jocelyn Goldfein - Forbes
  • Culture is the Behavior You Reward and Punish
  • Connect With Christian McCarrick and SimpleLeadership
  • Christian on LinkedIn
  • Christian on Twitter: @CMcCarrick
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