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August 2010 Contents

UPA Job Bank

UPA 2010


UX Leadership

Daniel Szuc

Daniel Szuc is the UPA Vice President.

Growing up we all had different people we admired including but not limited to our parents, teachers, friends, sporting heroes, business leaders, writers, actors and mentors. People who inspired us, opened our thinking or got us to look at the world differently.

As I get older and as I continue my contributions both in UPA and in the UX community, I have recently started to ask myself and my fellow colleagues what it takes to be a better leader. There are certainly some fantastic folks in the UX community and people that I both learn from and follow either in person, via discussion lists, RSS feeds, or Twitter.

Today I am intrigued by what moves people's minds and hearts towards positive ends and what it really takes to bring people together around important themes that affect us all today. This is especially relevant when trying to find a "shared language," independent of your role, for what it takes to deliver on better products and services.

I am definitely still learning, making plenty of mistakes along the way, but would like to share some basic learnings on what I think makes a great leader. This starter list is really intended to stimulate some discussion from you, the community, and I would like to hear from you about what leadership means to you.

Good leaders are:

  • Focused - Have a strategic goal in mind and are able to navigate people towards that goal.
  • Clear communicators - Able to explain the goal and make points simply and clearly.
  • Passionate - About what they do with some of this passion being transferred to the community.
  • Consistent - Behaves and provides a consistent approach independent of who is listening.
  • Informed - Take the time to do their homework and learn as much as possible about a topic to help them make a balanced decision. If they are not informed they take the time to find out what they need to know.
  • Inspiring - Are able to lift people's spirits towards something bigger than the individual.
  • United - Bring people together.
  • Approachable - Easy to talk to and share ideas about a topic.
  • Helpful - Help not only themselves succeed but other people succeed too.
  • Community minded - Puts the community needs ahead of their own needs.
  • Action oriented - Can not only put the plan together but can also see it through.
  • Good listeners - Actively take the time to listen to your perspective without judging.
  • Strong - Know when it's time to make a decision and what it's time for discussion.

I continue to read from a number of knowledge sources to help be not only a more informed practitioner but a better leader. I continue to be inspired by the UX community, the UPA Board, the UPA leadership and feel fortunate to be working with such clever and passionate people.

So what other traits do you think make great leaders?

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