Key leaders in architecture and design understand how to maximize team success. By being in the trenches, managers, and owners take action by working where the team works.
As a leader, it is critical to be in the trenches. It helps to create a strong corporate culture of trust and allows better leadership for the entire firm forward, removing obstacles and creating opportunities a leader may have missed if they didn’t spend time working alongside each position in the firm.
Trench-based leadership focuses on people, celebrates successes, and focuses on potential rather than problems. Leaders who work with their teams better understand the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. They recognize the need to pitch in when critical deadlines approach and those in charge also witness firsthand the skills in play and when more training is necessary.
Comprehending Design Leadership
Leading by example is critical for design leaders and managers who work with their teams. It allows leaders to also learn about their own strengths and weaknesses.
Are your managers and project leaders guilty of lackluster leadership? These are the people who explain a project to designers and architects in your firm, assign duties and deadlines, and disappear until the due date.
Even worse, some leaders attempt to control every aspect of the project, from concept to construction. Orchestration, not micromanagement, elevates the team to design and complete projects.
Top leaders understand the role of everyone on the team. Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited, challenges firm owners to learn the jobs of everyone in their employ. The broader understanding gained will make you a better leader. You’ll also be better prepared to take action.
Skills to Look For in Your Architecture and Design Leaders
Recruiters love working with leaders who get it – who understand leadership is about people, not just results. Similarly, they’re wary of working with leaders who don’t play well with others. If you’re hiring for your team, focus on these three recommendations:
- Be the person you want to work with. Model your firm’s mission in everything you do. Team members and even clients take their cues from your behavior.
- Be approachable. Design development can be a rigorous process, and questions will arise. No one will ask them if they think you’ll respond negatively.
- Communicate with clarity. Set the goal and tone from the beginning, so the project moves forward consistently. Clarity bolsters progress.
By leading with action and developing the characteristics of a top design leader, other designers will take notice. They’ll want to work with your firm because you get it. You work in the trenches with them.
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