The 5 Key Traits of Effective Design Leadership

The world of Design has truly evolved in the past few decades. Design teams are called to create projects in a much shorter timeframe than before and the expectations that the clients have are often high. Demanding clients will often ask a lot from your Design team so it is crucial to have good design leadership for a project to be completed successfully and on time. There are 5 key leadership elements that can truly transform the way that your design team works together.


1. Trust

For a leader to be successful they need to create a team environment where their decisions are trusted and followed. What’s more, by having trust both in your team and in the work, your designers will be able to work more confidently and even faster because they won’t have to second guess every choice they are making. Instead, they will know that they are all a part of one greater unit and as such by putting their best work out there the outcome for the team will be more positive.

A good way of creating trust is by having clear communication with your entire team. If everyone knows what is expected and required in each project, they will also know exactly what to deliver. This clear communication from the start will set the entire team on the same course, most importantly, it will ensure that when the project is done no one will feel mistreated or underappreciated because everyone will have done what was initially assigned to them.

2. Open-Mindedness

When in a position of leadership, it is crucial that you keep an open mind. This will allow for more creativity and cooperation within your team. If you are constantly micromanaging each aspect of a project without allowing your team members to express ideas for you to consider, your projects are bound to become stagnant as you will constantly be doing the same thing. Furthermore, your teammates will want to feel like their contributions are heard even when they don’t end up being used, this will foster cooperation and creativity within your team. This is why it is important to keep an open mind when managing a project and team.


3. Design Operation (DesignOps)

Creating a good work environment for your design team means supplying them with all the same tools and knowledge on how to use them. Without the correct tools, it will be harder for them to work and to use their creativity in a way that benefits your project. Making sure that your DesignOps is organized, and the right tool is available to your team will mean that you can create the projects you had envisioned without being stalled or limited by the design tools that you have available at hand.

4. Courage and Boldness

Undoubtedly, leading a design team can take a lot of courage. As the leader, you will need to have the courage to stand up for your design team's ideas and their needs. Often when working on projects for other organizations, due to the limited understanding they have, they might be unaware of what your design team's needs are. What’s more, they might not be aware of the importance of your design team. As the team leader, it will be up to you to inspire respect for your team and project, and to make sure that everyone in your team has everything that they need to complete their work effectively.


5. Growth Mindset

Design is constantly evolving. New styles and tools can appear at any moment and as a design leader, it is up to you to encourage your team to have a growth mindset and to not be afraid of utilizing the new tools available to them. Staying stagnant and limited by what you know can only harm your team while being open to learning about new things and tools can help your team grow and can inspire them to try out new design ideas. While mistakes might be made, it is only through trial and error that your creativity can be renewed, and you can begin growing and experimenting on new things.


Final Thoughts

To be an effective Design leader, the most important thing that you can do for your team is to be present and to make sure that you are working with your team. A good collaboration can bring growth and creativity and it can transform the way you carry out your design. Need a design team but don’t have time to build one from scratch? Why not hire one like Mad Creative Beanstalk to manage your design workflow from start to finish? We integrate seamless with your existing teams to provide you with the support you need. Get in touch to find out more.