A better team member

The longer I’ve been in leadership, the more I value people who don’t easily get bent out of shape.

Six years ago, I took on my first official design leadership role. I was pretty excited that all the years of hard work at multiple companies had paid off as I moved from a Sr. Designer role to a Manager role. It had been a long haul for me to get there, but I had finally “made it”. I was a boss.

In my new role, I was both excited and naive. I thought I could keep everyone happy and fix everyone’s work problems. I had watched for years how others had led and managed. Like you, I had both good bosses and bad bosses. I had learned both what to do and what not to do, and by golly I was going to be a good boss.

What I quickly learned, however, is that I couldn’t fix every problem. I couldn’t keep everyone happy all of the time. It wasn’t possible then, and it isn’t possible now.

The funny thing about leadership is, once you have a team of people reporting to you, you realize that pretty much every decision you make is going to upset someone.

Some new leaders probably figure this out pretty quick. I didn’t figure this out for years.

This leads me back to my opening statement, where the longer I’ve been in leadership, the more I value people who aren’t easily bent out of shape.

I’m talking about the designers who can role with the punches….

They aren’t personally offended when they aren’t invited to a meeting. Instead they are focused on the tasks at hand, and understand that their worth as an individual isn’t defined by meeting invites.

They’re flexible. They can adapt to change.

They don’t have to be right on everything. They’re open to other viewpoints.

They don’t get caught up in the minutia. They realize that when a decision is made at work, the leader is making the best decision they can with the information the leader has.

They have thick skin, and aren’t easily offended by coaching and feedback.

They don’t turn the small things into big things. They keep things in perspective.

They don’t take things personally when there’s feedback on their design that they don’t agree with. They instead take the opportunity to grow and learn from others.

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