In 19 years of shipping software, I've learned that great design leadership has 3 key components:
Great product design solutions to hard business and end-user problems, delivered on time and on budget.
A team of passionate, curious, fulfilled designers who bring their full selves to their work. With humility and empathy.
Modern Agile processes that help developers and designers ship quality software together, faster.
My recipe for success:
I approach every problem, from design and process problems to people problems, with the same questions. Who are the stakeholders? What are our evaluation criteria for success? How can we do better than we did last time?
Soft skills, hard impact
Over the course of my career, I've developed proven methods for teaching and growing soft skills to produce effective outcomes for product development teams.
It takes emotional intelligence to put ideas out there, solicit critique, let yourself fail, and synthesize your learnings into something better in the next iteration.
Lead with humility and vulnerability
Building amazing teams starts with hiring people from whom I can learn something, and giving them them both responsibility and support. I model the behaviors of vulnerability and experimentation to set the tone for a culture of humility, and to help my designers grow.
Everyone has something to teach, and everyone has something to learn.