I've put a lot of time and energy into becoming a good manager, but I've also been priviledged enough to work with many great leaders. I'd like to pay that forward and share some of the things that I've learned. 

Having a passion for team and workplace is more than just about producing work. It's about lifting others up to stand on our shoulders. It's about providing a safe environment for experimentation, ownership, and growth. It's about creating bonds that will get you through rough times. Finally, it's about building a version of our culture that reflects our values. 


Everyone manages differently, and the "right way" depends on your company, your team, and your goals. If you want to talk more about this or other topics,  let's chat! 

Authors That Have Influenced Me

Difficult Conversations

Bruce Patton, Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen. ISBN: 0143118447

This book is far and away the one I refer to the most when it comes to working with other people. My favorite takeaways are the Three Conversations and the Parade metaphor. 

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Kim Malone Scott.  ISBN: 1250235375

Eye-opening perspective on different management types. My favorite takeaway is the importance of feedback going in BOTH directions. 


My Leveling Guide

I wrote this in 2019 during my first position as a Design Director. As time has passed I've continued to use it as a reference for my team to understand what areas to focus on when advancing their level, and I've been told that it's both helpful and appreciated. I've included my preamble below, but you can read the guide on Google Docs

Note About Learning:

Learning is extremely hard, and you will always be learning.
For those of you who are in the first part of your career, a common feeling is that you aren’t doing your job well because you may not know everything about a particular area of design.  Remember this: you will never be judged poorly for not knowing something.  

Learning takes years. It also takes repetition. Don’t be embarrassed about needing to be reminded about something you had already learned but forgotten. Be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process of discovery. 

The power of “I don’t know” in product design

As you grow to Senior and beyond, it's common to believe that your skills have capped, that there's no new way for you to grow. To think that now you've “got it” and can just go with the first solution you come up with. Keep looking at new inspiration. Look outside your industry to find patterns.

Note About Collaboration:

There is no room for ego here.
A design solution is never the best it can be without collaboration. A common mistake in early-career designers is to think that they must prove themselves by doing it all alone. That their portfolio must only showcase what they themselves accomplished, without any help. Don’t be afraid to ask for outside opinions in fear that it will be uncovered that your solution isn’t perfect. 

The most important thing is finding the best solution to the problem.
I don’t care if the way that you uncovered it wasn’t all on your own. I don’t care if you had to ask ten different designers to help you. What I care about is a clean, simple solution to solve customer problems. So ask for critiques, ask for brainstorming sessions, ask for working sessions. My job as a manager is to teach you and bring your design solution up to the highest quality we can. Utilize that.

My Bible for 1:1 Meetings

What one-on-one meetings should not be:

Progress reports about daily work

Quarterly reminders that your report is still alive and well

Awkward silence

What one-on-one meetings SHOULD be:

Growth and reflection opportunity for both manager and report

Bonding and relationship building

A good excuse to get another coffee

This PDF helps managers and reports have real conversations that measure workplace satisfaction. It has questions across many topics such as:

  • Career Growth
  • Feeling Valued
  • Organizational Culture
  • Alignment with company mission & values

Instead of giving you a direct download, I'm going to link you to the creator's site so that they can get your data can get author credit. Here it is:

The Big Book of One-on-One Questions