Being a design leader is worthwhile challenge — rewarding yet difficult. Indeed, it involves a mix of paradoxical qualities that take practice & effort to master, over much time!
- Be humble in receiving inputs, yet defend a point of view
- Know when to say you donâ€™t know, yet project confidence in knowing the path to steer everyone forward
- Enable a cooperative team dynamic, yet be (or project) that you’re the clear leader or owner — who’s ready to take the hits!
- Admit fault/mistakes/failures, yet inspire your team to do whatâ€™s risky or boldly novel
- Acknowledge team uncertainty or anxiety, yet guide the team with reassuring confidence
- (sidenote: I remember reading long ago that one definition of leadership is the “reduction of uncertainty” about a situation)
- Keep your emotions in check, yet donâ€™t be a cold robot â€” acknowledge others’ emotional vibes
- Know whatâ€™s worth fighting for, yet donâ€™t be a doormat (or an always raging bulldog)
And on and onâ€¦ thereâ€™s a certain deft, intuitive knowledge of the limits or extremes; and thus maintaining a sustainable balance to enable your teamâ€™s success while pursuing your own goals with an optimistic and enjoyable spirit. It’s definitely not easy but with patience, practice, and peer support it’s doable.