Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Treat your manager like a coach (Interview with Facebook VP and author, Julie Zhuo)

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I today's post, you will get to read an excerpt from a podcast interview by Jenny Blake. On her PIVOT podcast, she interviewed Julie Zhuo, the VP of Product Design at Facebook and bestselling author of The Making of a Manager

I struggled with the title for this post. At first I thought about this... "Hey, new teachers - your principal is a coach not a judge." That led me to, "Hey, new principals - your superintendent is a coach not a judge."

Then it got real

Most leaders/managers (the good ones!) DO want to be coaches and not just judges. 

I understand that this may not be the case everywhere. 

What I do want to say is that if you are a leader/manager, the only thing you can control is you, and you can be that person who COACHES those who are on your team. 

AND, while we're on the subject of controlling what you can control, we can control how we treat our managers. 

So unless you KNOW that your leader/manager doesn't want you to be the best and that they don't want to be good leaders, let's take Jenny's advice to heart.

"The job of a manager is to be sure that the team has what it needs to be successful." 
- Julie Zhuo

This message is something that I want to share with our new teachers. I was visiting a classroom the other day, and the teacher (new to our school this year), got very nervous and even admitted it to his students while I was in the room.

When we meet this week, I will assure him that I see my role as one to support him and make sure he has what he needs to be successful. I'll also make certain that the other new teachers understand that I'm there to push their thinking, share feedback, and help them to be their very best. 

I would love to hear your thoughts about the excerpt below (from Jenny's podcast interview of Julie Zhou.) Does it speak to you? Can you relate? 

"You go through life, you go to school, you have this idea that your teachers and these people in positions of authority are often handing out judgments. You go and take a test and then you get an A, a B, a C... you get something that tells you, Was my work good enough?
And so, I think it's actually quite common. I know I certainly went into the workplace where I'm like, 'My manager is like that teacher, where they look at what I'm doing and they tell me if I get an A, or a B, or a C. And if I'm failing they fire me and if I get lots of A's then they promote me.' And that's the relationship, right?
So, I need to impress this person. I need to make sure that this person thinks I'm awesome all the time. If I'm really strugling, then maybe I shouldn't tell this person becuase then they might judge me to be less capable and I'm going to get a worse grade. 
I realized over time, especially as I also became a manager, that that is not the most productive way to view that relationship. In fact, if you think about it much more like a coach, your coach's job is to just help you be better or do your best, to give you feedback, and to push you with the goal of helping you achieve your best performance.  
That's a very different mentality than someone who's just judging you.
When you have that mentality of your manager as a coach, then you change a lot of your behaviors. Because the person you believe has your back and you believe is just helping you do your best... you want to tell them what your problems are. You want to talk to them openly about your hopes and dreams. You want to admit to them, 'Hey, this is something that's hard for me. Can we work on it together? Can you help me overcome this problem?' " 
You can read the show notes and listen to the full episode HERE.

Click HERE to order Julie's book from Amazon

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