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SXSW Interactive 2014

Things I’ve Learned from Leading (UX Designers)

I've worked for a lot of idiot managers in my career. And then, one day, after I had become a manager, it dawned on me: Now I'm the idiot! Most of my career has been an exercise in “trial by fire” and this process worked well when I was a designer and was trying to master the art of the site map, wireframe, personas, and so on. In leadership, the option to start over or iterate hasn't always been readily available--nor as painless to my pride and my pocketbook.
Many of these lessons haven’t been easy for me to learn. It’s been tough to simultaneously remove obstacles without becoming one, or learning how to say “no” (and the flavors of yes and no!) when I've also wanted people to be satisfied with me and the work I'm doing. However, these lessons have all helped me become better at managing to some degree, while instilling a strong sense of empathy for those people who either report to me, or bless their souls, manage me in one way or another.

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  1. What are some of the things I might want to consider before moving into management?
  2. What are some techniques that can be used to help me lead other designers?
  3. What are some things that I can do when I just don't know what to do in a leadership role (beyond googling it!)?
  4. Do I have to become a manager if I'm content doing design work?
  5. What are some of the best ways to react/respond to different scenarios that will be a benefit to your team?



Russ Unger, Experience Design Director, GE Capital Americas

Meta Information:

  • Tags: design
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Work and Career
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginning
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