One of the many challenges I faced in 2020 included transitioning from a UI Engineer role to a Design Lead position. This move happened very fast and it is one of those moments in life where you just learn as you go.
There is a vast amount of of literature on the topic of leadership and management; however very little of it is meant for beginners, newcomers and people that just landed on the role.
These are the seven things I wish someone told me before I got promoted as a Design Lead.
Being on a leadership role means putting your team ahead.
It is not only about you anymore.
You make the well-being and the interests of the people you work with a priority.
It is important to be open and accept everyone as they are.
It will be easier to lead a team and collaborate if we all feel like we are in a safe space.
You'll encounter resistance from outside but keep it up and lead by example.
It made a big impact to stop thinking about my colleagues as professionals with specific roles; instead I embrace everyone by their rich skillset.
A change of perspective and understanding the team as a service.
As a lead I make myself much more available.
Whenever I can I make time to talk and have conversations with colleagues.
I don’t want to be caught up in design terminology. It can get confusing very quick and it will just make it hard to understand for people that’s not familiar with the terms.
Instead, break it down in simple words, make it visual and use every single resource you to communicate what’s on your mind.
Leading is not managing.
Managing is not leading.
This was probably one of the biggest eye openers when approaching this role. Ultimately, leading is nothing else than being able to inspire and facilitate collaborate within your team.
Ask for help and look out for mentors and references. I would have not been able to do what I do now without the every colleague, friend and mentor that has been giving me advices along the way.
A good place to start is the online community managed by Jared Spool: Leaders of Awesomeness.
Let me know if you can relate to any of my learnings. I would also love to hear your experience working in similar roles.
Feel free to reach out on @ramsescabello.
Thanks for reading.