5 Design Leadership Tips Part 1

Hello. Already this month we are launching the Team Lead 2.0 course, which is specially prepared for senior developers, TeamLeads, SCRUM masters and specialists who want to improve their professional level and gain the unique experience necessary for the effective management of development teams.

In anticipation of the start of this course, we are sharing with you interesting material on the topic.
Article author: Svetlana Konovalova

Design Leadership is about leadership and management in the field of design, in fact an analogue of the term Project Management for developers. Only if the second in Russia has already taken root quite well, then the first is not common. What should be the person who will be responsible for your design department or design team? How should you behave and what should you constantly remember if you want to become such a person? That's what we’ll talk about today. This article will be useful to those who begin or have recently begun their journey as a team lead. However, if you already have some experience, you can just once again make sure that you are doing everything right.

There are several things you should pay attention to when you occupy any managerial position in the company. The design team in this regard is not very different from the team of programmers, so some of the principles below can be safely used in your practice, even if your sphere of influence is “not designers”. Some practices may seem obvious, but I'm not in vain saying that they need to be kept in mind, because to forget the obvious thing at the most important moment is a favorite thing.

Three main words

The leader's task is to motivate the team. Sounds as vague as possible, right? When a team leader talks about a new task, he devotes more time to the technological aspect, that is, he explains the requirements, tells WHAT to do and HOW to do it. He can talk about this for a long time, in colors and details, trying not to miss anything. This is the right approach, it’s better to explain once again than to guess if they understood you correctly, but talking about TK is far from motivation.

There are three important questions you need to ask yourself each time you start to do something. This also applies to teamwork.

What for? What? How?

It is important to make it clear to the team that the work they are doing is aimed at achieving a goal, both higher and purely personal. Money is not always a good motivator; you cannot buy the whole world for it. The goal digital product designers strive for is to help people. After all, users are just those people who want to satisfy their need with the help of a digital product, the design of which the team is engaged in. You, as a team leader, should make every effort so that your wards understand why they sit at work from nine to five. That is why the first question is “Why?”. In the questions “What?” And “How?” There is no great emotional load, here it is more cognitive, but here everything will depend on the professionalism of the team.

You are the worst specialist

When you first started your career as a digital product designer, you constantly tried new tools, tried to learn all the nuances, followed trends and consulted with more experienced colleagues. Now you have taken a leading position and the time to design something yourself you have less and less. You devote more time to self-development as a competent leader, read books, go to meetings and conferences, are inspired by examples of success.

One fine day, you understand that one of the members of your team has outgrown you professionally as a designer, and then six months later the second, and then the third. They ask your advice not about which way they should grow and develop, but ask for help only in the design review.

And you must be happy! Do you know why? Now your task is to be a competent leader, and not the best designer, your task is to “grow” the best specialists, share your experience with them while they need it, and not get upset when your skills become outdated. The higher the position, the less “production practice”, remember this. You, as a competent team leader, still need to update your baggage of professional knowledge to keep in mind the entire infrastructure of the project, but remember that your specialization is to motivate, guide, develop and develop.

It's not about you, it's about me

No matter how strange it may sound, when new specialists come to you, they do not always turn out to be precisely “specialists”. This is not good and not bad, because on the one hand, the HR department missed the mark, and on the other, you can get the best management practices.

When a member of your team does not do what is required of him, or you see his work somehow differently, don’t understand what he is doing and why, talk to him. I'm serious. A one-on-one conversation in your office should not be something terrible for team members. Quite the contrary, we are all people, we all want to learn and get the approval of our work and ourselves as individuals. A person who is mistaken in something wants to be helped to correct the mistake. Therefore, in a tête-à-tête format, talk to him, explain again what is required, what has been done wrong and how to fix it. The leader must speak frankly and fairly point out errors, then his praise will be appreciated higher.

On this, the first part of our material came to an end.

Read the second part.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/463353/

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