Growing up in rural Washington, Julie Larson-Green, 55, had only one computer in her high school — and when she declared in her yearbook she wanted to go into programming, she’d never even used it. Now she’s a 24-year veteran at Microsoft and the company’s chief experience officer. In other words, the woman has drive. (“I was the oldest of three girls, so I’ve always felt like a bossypants,” she says.) If you’re a new boss — or hope to be one — you want her tips. In other words, she knows a few things about moving up into your dream job, and truly owning that “boss” title — even if you’re new at it.
Companies tend to say, “This person is really good at doing X, so they should lead people who do X.”
“That’s how people get put into this manager role. But it takes a while to learn that you have to change your perspective: You were really good at how to do something, now your job really starts to become the why — setting the challenge for your team, rather than telling them how to do it.”
I want to be very open and transparent to set an example.
“You model behaviour as a leader. And the number-one thing I have learned [about creating work-life balance for the team] is to be reliable. I’ll say, “I’ve got my kid’s soccer; I’m out.” Or, “I’ve got Ultimate Frisbee” — that’s what my son’s really into. Whenever he has a game, I mark it on my calendar and let people know. Then they can work around that. When you’re working as a team, it’s the unknown — like, where is that person or why aren’t they here? — that’s a problem.”
Remember what it feels like to be an employee.
“You know: what unmotivated you and made you say, “I will never do that as a boss.” And don’t do it!”
I think you need to be fearless and ask for what you want.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to be the only woman in the room. Growing up, I babysat scads of boys; it was like Lord of the Flies, but you get used to it. [Lately] I’ve started calling out things, like if I get talked over, I say, “Hold on a second, I think you interrupted me.” That’s important as a boss; just be very direct and you will improve the workplace over time.”
Staying on top of everything can be a struggle.
“I try to categorise the work by asking: Is this going to matter in a day, a week, a month, or a year? That prioritises things. And then I use ‘productive procrastination’ for things that aren’t going to matter long-term. A lot just falls by the wayside. You don’t have to focus on everything that comes into your inbox immediately.”
I lead a lot through intuition.
“Some people say that’s a rapid processing of facts that lead you to a conclusion. But a big part of learning to trust your gut is trying out things with people who aren’t going to shut you down; that gives you a sense of ‘I actually do know what I’m talking about.’ Impostor syndrome is real — for men and women — but sharing your ideas with people who will listen can boost your confidence.”
Have a plan for where you want to go next.
“I don’t believe in planning your career too specifically, but you have to have a general direction you want to go — otherwise you’re just wandering. I always had a plan: I want to build software that helps millions of people. I didn’t chart my career or say, ‘I want to become CEO’ or ‘I want to be a vice president.’ For me, it’s about the impact I can have; the money and promotions you get come as a result of doing the work. And you might even realise you don’t want to be CEO!”
Taken from GLAMOUR US. Click here to read the original.
Want more career advice? Read these 3 tips for landing your first job from one of the most BOSS women in tech.