Jan Pautsch / Strategic Talent Partner / Berlin, Germany / Competencies, Practices and selected Cases

The Leader I want to be

A personal Journey

 

I recently came across an interesting blog: Autodidactic Designer by Aaron Thornburgh. Aaron describes, among many other great examples, his learnings, doubts and views on leadership. The whole series of posts is written very honestly and really impressed me. It made me think about how I myself interpret and live leadership.

Leaders often grow into this responsibility because they are damn good in what they do, they are passionate and they show commitment to the company. The leadership role is often the only option for career progression and very often the organization misses the chance to prepare the rookies for their role. To train and coach them accordingly. For example, the skill that made someone a great designer are almost wholly unrelated to the skills that make them a great leader. 

I myself was given a lot of responsibility early in my career. Like so many others, I figured it out as I went along, stumbling towards a set of principles that work pretty well for me. Only today I understand that personality and passion are not enough to be a good leader. It's about a holistic strategic toolset that you can either acquire yourself by making (mistakes) or, at best, through training and coaching. In my opinion, the often miserable leadership culture in agencies is due to the fact that their management was never been trained for leadership. Today, some of the role models in the industry are exemplifying how modern lean leadership can work.

My experience is also: whether a large or a small team - it makes no difference. I would even say that in a small team - leadership is sometimes even more challenging - because you can be measured very directly by your actions or non-actions, your attitude, strengths and weaknesses. In a more complex organizational setup it's easier to blame the system for failures or let yourself be absorbed and influenced by the political sidelines in the organization. Leadership has to be focused and empowered and that's why it can only be one or two rungs away from the CEO, and so must either be an executive or have executive access.

The Leader I want to be

A personal Journey

 

I recently came across an interesting blog: Autodidactic Designer by Aaron Thornburgh. Aaron describes, among many other great examples, his learnings, doubts and views on leadership. The whole series of posts is written very honestly and really impressed me. It made me think about how I myself interpret and live leadership.

Leaders often grow into this responsibility because they are damn good in what they do, they are passionate and they show commitment to the company. The leadership role is often the only option for career progression and very often the organization misses the chance to prepare the rookies for their role. To train and coach them accordingly. For example, the skill that made someone a great designer are almost wholly unrelated to the skills that make them a great leader. 

I myself was given a lot of responsibility early in my career. Like so many others, I figured it out as I went along, stumbling towards a set of principles that work pretty well for me. Only today I understand that personality and passion are not enough to be a good leader. It's about a holistic strategic toolset that you can either acquire yourself by making (mistakes) or, at best, through training and coaching. In my opinion, the often miserable leadership culture in agencies is due to the fact that their management was never been trained for leadership. Today, some of the role models in the industry are exemplifying how modern lean leadership can work.

My experience is also: whether a large or a small team - it makes no difference. I would even say that in a small team - leadership is sometimes even more challenging - because you can be measured very directly by your actions or non-actions, your attitude, strengths and weaknesses. In a more complex organizational setup it's easier to blame the system for failures or let yourself be absorbed and influenced by the political sidelines in the organization. Leadership has to be focused and empowered and that's why it can only be one or two rungs away from the CEO, and so must either be an executive or have executive access.

The Leader I want to be
A personal Journey

I recently came across an interesting blog: Autodidactic Designer by Aaron Thornburgh. Aaron describes, among many other great examples, his learnings, doubts and views on leadership. The whole series of posts is written very honestly and really impressed me. It made me think about how I myself interpret and live leadership.

Leaders often grow into this responsibility because they are damn good in what they do, they are passionate and they show commitment to the company. The leadership role is often the only option for career progression and very often the organization misses the chance to prepare the rookies for their role. To train and coach them accordingly. For example, the skill that made someone a great designer are almost wholly unrelated to the skills that make them a great leader. 

I myself was given a lot of responsibility early in my career. Like so many others, I figured it out as I went along, stumbling towards a set of principles that work pretty well for me. Only today I understand that personality and passion are not enough to be a good leader. It's about a holistic strategic toolset that you can either acquire yourself by making (mistakes) or, at best, through training and coaching. In my opinion, the often miserable leadership culture in agencies is due to the fact that their management was never been trained for leadership. Today, some of the role models in the industry are exemplifying how modern lean leadership can work.

My experience is also: whether a large or a small team - it makes no difference. I would even say that in a small team - leadership is sometimes even more challenging - because you can be measured very directly by your actions or non-actions, your attitude, strengths and weaknesses. In a more complex organizational setup it's easier to blame the system for failures or let yourself be absorbed and influenced by the political sidelines in the organization. Leadership has to be focused and empowered and that's why it can only be one or two rungs away from the CEO, and so must either be an executive or have executive access.

 

In a more complex organizational setup it's easier to blame the system for failures or let yourself be absorbed and influenced by the political sidelines in the organization.

I have met many great leaders myself - some as my bosses, some as partners, some became my friends. They are all characterized by a genuine interest in people and ideas, an interest in excellent results - challenging and encouraging - and most importantly: sensitive, intelligent and vulnerable human beings.

Despite flatter working methods and a reduction of unnecessary hierarchies, I see a great need for experienced leadership. I would like to follow Aaron's call and describe the leader I want to be. Derived from my personal learnings from managing the end-to-end work of a team of 15 designers to leading a team of 35 designers focused on strategy, vision, prototyping and platform design to leading a team of 9 talent consultants. This isn't supposed to be another generic how-to-list. It is the essence of my many years of experience. Every day brings new unexpected challenges and and I'd be grateful if I could at least fulfill some of the points below.

I have met many great leaders myself - some as my bosses, some as partners, some became my friends. They are all characterized by a genuine interest in people and ideas, an interest in excellent results - challenging and encouraging - and most importantly: sensitive, intelligent and vulnerable human beings.

Despite flatter working methods and a reduction of unnecessary hierarchies, I see a great need for experienced leadership. I would like to follow Aaron's call and describe the leader I want to be. Derived from my personal learnings from managing the end-to-end work of a team of 15 designers to leading a team of 35 designers focused on strategy, vision, prototyping and platform design to leading a team of 9 talent consultants. This isn't supposed to be another generic how-to-list. It is the essence of my many years of experience. Every day brings new unexpected challenges and and I'd be grateful if I could at least fulfill some of the points below.

I have met many great leaders myself - some as my bosses, some as partners, some became my friends. They are all characterized by a genuine interest in people and ideas, an interest in excellent results - challenging and encouraging - and most importantly: sensitive, intelligent and vulnerable human beings.

Despite flatter working methods and a reduction of unnecessary hierarchies, I see a great need for experienced leadership. I would like to follow Aaron's call and describe the leader I want to be. Derived from my personal learnings from managing the end-to-end work of a team of 15 designers to leading a team of 35 designers focused on strategy, vision, prototyping and platform design to leading a team of 9 talent consultants. This isn't supposed to be another generic how-to-list. It is the essence of my many years of experience. Every day brings new unexpected challenges and and I'd be grateful if I could at least fulfill some of the points below.

The Leader I want to be

Develop a vision, embed it and derive actions. Set challenging but achievable goals for your team for each individual but also for yourself. Communicate them and follow up on them. Be one step ahead.

Be genuinely interested. In technical as well as in personal topics. Of people, of stories. Take part, be vulnerable, and have fun. But don't make the mistake of confusing team and family. Leave your moodiness at home.

Show attitude and courage. Your personality is shaped by a belief system - this goes far beyond the job. Live your and the company's values (basic requirement: they are similar).

Successful business decisions are rarely a result of democracy. That leads to mediocrity. But decisions can be reconsidered. Focus efforts on what matters, say no to that which is not crucial.

It's always teamwork. Give credit for the team and for individuals but don't prefer them. Be modest. Give opportunities to succeed. Be appreciative even for small successes. Formulate your expectations but be generous.

Distribute responsibility. Delegate, let go and trust. Only in this way can your team grow.

Provide visibility and context. Mission, values, objectives and results should not live in Excel sheets but must surround us daily. Live it and promote it.

Always act as a serving leader. Someone who actively listens and makes sure that obstacles that hinder your team from progressing are removed. Help navigate roadblocks. Be there when you're needed.

Be calculable, predictable, reliable and keep your promises. Because your team does not measure you by your promises but by your actions. Take responsibility for your actions.

Don't confuse action with actionism. You need the complete picture to make a decision. But make a decision.

Be able to lead intuitively, spontaneously and situatively. Adjust the pace - from strolling to sprinting to marathon.

Learn by making mistakes. But you shouldn't make the same mistake twice. As a leader, you need mentorship either within your own company or externally. Leadership is never complete - it is a daily challenge. 

The Leader I want to be

Develop a vision, embed it and derive actions. Set challenging but achievable goals for your team for each individual but also for yourself. Communicate them and follow up on them. Be one step ahead.

Be genuinely interested. In technical as well as in personal topics. Of people, of stories. Take part, be vulnerable, and have fun. But don't make the mistake of confusing team and family. Leave your moodiness at home.

Show attitude and courage. Your personality is shaped by a belief system - this goes far beyond the job. Live your and the company's values (basic requirement: they are similar).

Successful business decisions are rarely a result of democracy. That leads to mediocrity. But decisions can be reconsidered. Focus efforts on what matters, say no to that which is not crucial.

It's always teamwork. Give credit for the team and for individuals but don't prefer them. Be modest. Give opportunities to succeed. Be appreciative even for small successes. Formulate your expectations but be generous.

Distribute responsibility. Delegate, let go and trust. Only in this way can your team grow.

Provide visibility and context. Mission, values, objectives and results should not live in Excel sheets but must surround us daily. Live it and promote it.

Always act as a serving leader. Someone who actively listens and makes sure that obstacles that hinder your team from progressing are removed. Help navigate roadblocks. Be there when you're needed.

Be calculable, predictable, reliable and keep your promises. Because your team does not measure you by your promises but by your actions. Take responsibility for your actions.

Don't confuse action with actionism. You need the complete picture to make a decision. But make a decision.

Be able to lead intuitively, spontaneously and situatively. Adjust the pace - from strolling to sprinting to marathon.

Learn by making mistakes. But you shouldn't make the same mistake twice. As a leader, you need mentorship either within your own company or externally. Leadership is never complete - it is a daily challenge. 

The Leader I want to be

Develop a vision, embed it and derive actions. Set challenging but achievable goals for your team for each individual but also for yourself. Communicate them and follow up on them. Be one step ahead.

Be genuinely interested. In technical as well as in personal topics. Of people, of stories. Take part, be vulnerable, and have fun. But don't make the mistake of confusing team and family. Leave your moodiness at home.

Show attitude and courage. Your personality is shaped by a belief system - this goes far beyond the job. Live your and the company's values (basic requirement: they are similar).

Successful business decisions are rarely a result of democracy. That leads to mediocrity. But decisions can be reconsidered. Focus efforts on what matters, say no to that which is not crucial.

It's always teamwork. Give credit for the team and for individuals but don't prefer them. Be modest. Give opportunities to succeed. Be appreciative even for small successes. Formulate your expectations but be generous.

Distribute responsibility. Delegate, let go and trust. Only in this way can your team grow.

Provide visibility and context. Mission, values, objectives and results should not live in Excel sheets but must surround us daily. Live it and promote it.

Always act as a serving leader. Someone who actively listens and makes sure that obstacles that hinder your team from progressing are removed. Help navigate roadblocks. Be there when you're needed.

Be calculable, predictable, reliable and keep your promises. Because your team does not measure you by your promises but by your actions. Take responsibility for your actions.

Don't confuse action with actionism. You need the complete picture to make a decision. But make a decision.

Be able to lead intuitively, spontaneously and situatively. Adjust the pace - from strolling to sprinting to marathon.

Learn by making mistakes. But you shouldn't make the same mistake twice. As a leader, you need mentorship either within your own company or externally. Leadership is never complete - it is a daily challenge. 

The role of the leader is currently changing radically and it is important to find out what leadership means for you personally. I'd like to pass the question on. What are your leadership principles? Describe the leader you would like to be. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

The role of the leader is currently changing radically and it is important to find out what leadership means for you personally. I'd like to pass the question on. What are your leadership principles? Describe the leader you would like to be. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

The role of the leader is currently changing radically and it is important to find out what leadership means for you personally. I'd like to pass the question on. What are your leadership principles? Describe the leader you would like to be. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Cases / Thoughts

Embrace VarietyBerlin Dribbble meetup

Headhunter SecretsUXcamp Europe, BarCamp

DECODERInnovation Platform

Me & FriendsEmployee Loyalty

Selected CasesCase Studies (PW required)

© 2018 Jan Pautsch / Rethinking Talent.

© 2018 Jan Pautsch / Rethinking Talent.

LinkedIn
Mail
Twitter