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User Experience

Molding Yourself into a Leader, Part 1

By Jonathan Walter

Many articles about UX leadership focus on what managers do or target those who have direct reports. Such articles typically cover building a UX culture, hiring the right people, developing people, and of course, selling the value of User Experience to the C-suite. While these are all valuable pursuits that are vitally important to building a user-centered culture in your company, leadership does not end with directors, managers, or even team leads. Leadership extends to individual contributors, too. In fact, depending on your company’s UX maturity level, leadership arguably begins with individual contributors—perhaps you, the UX designer.

Unfortunately, UX designers are often in short supply in large enterprise environments, in comparison to people in information technology, engineering, and marketing roles. This, in turn, perpetuates scenarios in which UX designers must be, in equal parts, practitioners, evangelists, and presenters—roles that together exceed the scope of what most UX designers expect they’ll need to do when they first embark on their career. However, being a leader also means cultivating skills that may go beyond the bounds of your craft. But what does leadership really look like for people in creative roles who don’t have any direct reports, lack easy access to the C-suite, and have not had a multi-decade tenure at their company? Read More

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