What is the right User Research for you?
As businesses realize the importance to drive a consistent UX strategy, they are looking to go beyond.
Leadership is the art of inspiring people to do something special. Every good organization promotes leadership values to help the team work together to achieve a specific goal. Without strong leaders, it is not possible to drive a radical business change and create successful innovations. For the designers, leadership is something that is always close to their hearts. After all, design is all about problem-solving and steering teams to action.
Recently, design has taken a leadership role in the corporate setup, and has allowed companies to focus on a critical aspect of their product development, which was missing before. Soon, it will be the responsibility of design leaders to move the organizations into newer and better things. As the design leadership matures, a company is less likely to worry about how to make important decisions related to digital product experiences, customer and brand loyalty and user experience.
Most of the top leaders in the industry started when they were very young. With the kind of skills they had, it’s surprising how little managing they did. However, things have dramatically changed today. Mia Blume, founder of design leadership coaching and development company Design Dept. says, “Almost every single company is looking for design managers and design leaders right now, which is a good sign for design as a community, but what it also signals is this gap in development for our community.”
Mia has a very successful business that coaches designers to become leaders. As the demand for design leaders grow, design coaching and consulting companies are becoming more and more popular to bridge the skill gap. Mira points out it was never her intention to get into design leadership coaching but when she took time off to travel, people started seeking her out for advice. They wanted to know how to unite their teams, how to be more efficient and better leaders, and how to lead by design, among other things.
Mia is also connected to the industry as leader and a mentor, and she has strong views on how to help foster supportive leadership development in women, and balance the gender divide. While many leaders share similar stories, we tried to find out what advice they have for a company looking to build design leadership. Let’s see them one-by-one.
Many of us like to believe that designers are creative people, big thinkers who can instantly produce new ideas to change the world. But, in reality, a good designer is more rooted to the ground. He carefully analyses people, information and emotions to reach at a final point. It takes as much as effort and preparation for a designer to deliver a solution as it takes for any normal person in the company. No matter how much we want to believe that creativity can solve most of our problems, but it’s the other way round. A good designer is committed to the job, curious to learn and explore more and is willing to take risks even when the odds are against him. A curious person has the ability to dig deep in to problem and find various ways to solve it. As he is fully involved in the process, it is easy to provide direction and guide the team through challenges.
It has been said that an individual vision is not sufficient to bring a about a consistent change. A goal is built around a team and succeeds when everyone gives their best and takes ownership of the project. This is where leadership becomes so important to define goals and to motivate people to help them achieve together.
But, what we often forget is that inspiring oneself is as important as inspiring others. For example, a designer new to the role of leadership has to deal with the daily activities of a manger such as conducting meetings, meeting new people, sending emails and overall, has to do more managerial task. With so much to do, it can have a negative effect on the person and the people around him. Design leaders should be aware of such situations where a lack of inspiration just makes things more difficult to manage.
When you are inspired to do what you are good at, you will be able to rally the team around you to do bigger and better things.
For any team, it can be detrimental to have someone who likes to equate responsibility with power. Even though, it is easy to work faster under the leadership of a strict practitioner, but there is no scope of improvement and togetherness in such an environment. Leaders are respected because they affirm the good qualities of a team, and not because of their position or title.
People in leadership positions are needed to guide teams through various challenges. What counts most is how they influence people and help them improve their craft. Seniority does not mean anything if you are not able to make a positive impact in the team.
Understand that leaders are experts in their field, not more creative or bright than the others. The only difference is they strive in pressure situations and embrace new challenges. You can make yourself a good leader through hard work, commitment and a strong work ethic.