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How To Push Designers To Their Next Level?

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Especially New Designers Need Feedback And an Agile Role in Your Team

Frequent feedback loops are the key to an successful leadership in a creative environment.

It is important to take your time for your employees. I know the daily business is running fast and there are so many things to do. But your co-workers are the heart and soul of your company. So make sure, that you will feedback your team mates often and on a high quality level, especially if you have new designers in your team.

So what is to do?

First of all: There is no golden rule for a perfect creative leadership in forming your team. Everything that you are going to read here, is my personal opinion derived from 11 years of working in a creative environment and just a short wrap up.

Six Rules for giving feedback

  1. Be honest — giving feedback without turn on the blarney.
  2. Be nice — giving feedback with respect.
  3. Be right away — giving feedback immediately, if it has to.
  4. Be clear — word your feedback understandable.
  5. Be fair — remember: nobody is perfect, including you.
  6. Be positive — give your team mate solutions for his behavior

Weekly feedback loops

Give your new team member a weekly feedback that does not take longer as 5 till 10 minutes while probationary period — If you do not have an arrangement like this take the period of 3 months.

Write down your positive and also your negative impressions that you have collected over the week. Communicate your new team mate that (s)he should do the same about you and the team.

So you will have tight feedback loops for the first 3 months. In this time it is easy to find out what is the skillset of your new colleague. What skills does he / she has. What kinds of weakness? You can early push your new co-worker into the direction which will perfectly work for your team, for the agency and especially for your new dude.

Monthly feedback loops

3 months have passed. You and your “not-so-new-designer” are still happy which each other. So what are the next steps regarding feedback? You and your new workmate will meet up one time per month for the next 3 months. Same behavior: talk about positive and negative things. This meeting should take 10–15 min.

Quarterly feedback

You are working half-a-year in a team right now. Time for a bigger feedback meeting. Talk about everything that you have experienced during the last months. But keep booth of you updated. — A good way for this is a quarterly feedback meeting. Where you can discuss everything, what is important. For example how does you team mate feel like, what is good, what is not an so on. Very important for you as a creative leader: Take these meetings serious. Do not switch them to another date or even cancel them. Your co-workers will lose trust into you. And maybe your team mates will have the impression that they are not so significant for you.

Anything else?

Creating a career plan

Set up a plan where you and your colleague define his / hers business goals for the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 5 years. Check the status of goals in every quarterly feedback meeting and redefine them if necessary.

UX Designer feat. UI Designer

Maybe the performance of your new designer is not that good as you thought. It is possible that he / she is much better in another disciple as UX- or as UI design. So try to give him/her the possibility to prove theirselves in a new discipline.

Do not give feedback in front of the whole team

Feedback is private stuff. Do not blame or punish your team mates in front of their colleagues. If you need to give instant feedback do it face to face.

Keep on being updated

Do not stop feedback loops, never. Teams are never perfect but they could almost be. So use an method inspired by Eric Ries method “Lean Startup” also for your crew. That means:

Thanks for reading my article “How to push Designers to their next Level?” I would love to get feedback from you, just drop me a line!

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How To Push Designers To Their Next Level? was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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