Ex-Microsoft exec Julie Larson-Green shares her secrets on building great teams

Laurent Giret

After working at Microsoft for 25 years, Julie Larson-Green, former Vice President and Chief Experience Officer left the company this year for a new top position at experience management company Qualtrics. Over the years, Larson-Green has earned a reputation as a great team builder, which led Business Insider to ask her some tips for building great teams.

The tech veteran revealed four of her secrets, and the first one is to make sure to “bring together different viewpoints” in a team. Great leaders should always remain curious about what other people think, and it’s important for the members of a team to not have the same point of views.

Secondly, Larson-Green explained that it’s more important to have experts that excel in just one specific area than having people who try to be good at everything. “Don’t try to make an apple into an orange or a pear. Do hire an apple, an orange, and a pear, and then the team as a unit operates at a much higher level together,” Larson-Green said.

Next, the exec emphasized that team leaders should always encourage their employees to give their “exponential effort on the things they like to do,” and not push them to improve on their weaknesses. “If they are working super hard on the things they are not super good at, it takes a lot of more effort,” she added.

Last but not least, Larson-Green explained that team leaders have to create a collaborative environment where team members have some room to figure out how to accomplish their tasks. “This creates less competition on the team and a more collaborative style,” she said.

These are all pretty good tips for team leaders overall, and after leading teams behind beloved products such as Office, Windows, Xbox and Surface, Larson-Green certainly knows a thing or two about team building. According to Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, it’s Larson-Green’s ability to create great teams at Microsoft that pushed him to hire her. “If you talked to anyone who worked with her, and every single back channel I talked to, everyone told me about the culture she built on teams,” Smith told Business Insider.