Design Team Leadership
Work Ethics

Design Team Leadership

Who’s The Leader Here?

Maria Donchenko's portrait
Maria Donchenko
Creative Director at Movadex
Design Team Leadership

Why a Team Leader Exists?

It isn't easy to do a project without a manager if more than 2 people are on the team. Imagine a company with any common development goals, whether an outsourced, long-term product or startup. Someone should share these goals with the team or even build new ones. A leader is a person who can help a team with their personal growth.

What Should a Leader Do?

Organization Not all people are willing to take responsibility for others: writing weekly-monthly-yearly reviews, reminding, directing, communicating, and sometimes receiving negative feedback, so there is a manager for such things, and it's cool when they are also a leader — when they monitor the performance of the configured systems and improve them.


At work, people are often faced with the question: "Where are we going? Why are we doing this?" Goals are a time-consuming thing, it is challenging to notice how something changes by a couple of percent every day, so the leader's task is to remind his team of goals and track the progress of each team member as a single organism. The leader must know the answer: "What do we want to achieve?". A leader is a person who carries a load of tasks with people, not sitting in a chair and just showing them where to go. The very etymology of the word indicates the mission of the leader. A good leader must notice changes in the team and know how to tactfully either ask, keep quiet, or help.

Culture Formation You can see the reasons for quitting a company above. Half or more is because of the culture in the company. The company's culture can sometimes have harmful components: acceptance of sexism, chauvinism, ageism, the arrogance of management positions, or, for example, hyper-competition.

The leaders’ tasks at all levels are to create a culture as tolerant and friendly as possible so that it is comfortable for new people to join it and reveal their talents to the fullest. Culture can also form on its own, unnoticed, so it is vital to grab the negative situations by the tail and examine them under a microscope so that they do not repeat. You can find more about the reasons to quit in this article.

The Leader Tools

Regular Meetings Yes, it is impossible to inspire a team without communicating with them. You have to talk about tasks: personal and group ones. If there is an opportunity — do it in person.

Prepare for meetings. What do you want to say to your team? What do you want them to remember? You also need to encourage others to ask questions and suggest topics, do not become a lecturer — have a dialogue.

Maintain a Development Matrix for the Team and a Career Development Plan Some questions you can discuss: 1. What do you want as a designer? 2. What projects do you want to try? 3. Is there something new you would want to learn? 4. Based on the answers, you can take specific actions: look for practical and educational materials, distribute projects and build a department’s general picture. If everyone is motivated, then the team as a whole will grow.

Exchange reviews. Choose a period when it would be convenient for your team to exchange thoughts. Here are some questions that will help you become better to synchronize with you as a leader.

Questions for designers' review 1. How did you like the review? 2. What could be done better? 3. What do you want to do in the coming months, and in what areas do you want to see the improvements?

Review the supervisor 1. What should I stop doing? 2. What should I continue doing? 3. What should I start doing?

And most importantly, understand whether you have these inclinations. Being a leader is the responsibility of every more or less experienced specialist. It is a zeal and a desire to go beyond hard skills. Don't force yourself if you really don't want to and think that this is not for you. This is the main rule in everything. If you feel the strength and energy to develop not only yourself but also the team, then move forward to success. ;) P.S. If you have your own recipes for successful leadership, leave me a message (drop me a message, leave a note) (, and I will be happy to talk and discuss your experience.