4 Ways to Take Leadership as an Entry Level Designer

 

Taking leadership at an entry level position can feel wrong. Many of us think leadership is for company managers or bosses, but there are ways to lead from a lower position that allow an entry level designer to make valuable impact.

 

  1. Think big picture. While toiling away on small projects and tedious details, make sure you have in mind the overall goals of the company. Spend time learning about this year’s goals and where management are planning to go. Being aware and involved with the larger direction helps you identify your role, giving you a clear sense of purpose. When need be, remind your direct manager on where the company is going if he/she is ever unsure of the work you are doing. Often your knowledge of the greater impact of your work supports your manager or creative director allowing you to lead up the chain.

 

  1. Don’t get frustrated. This is easier said than done, but the importance of staying calm is still underrated. No matter how many times your detail-oriented director “stalls” a project by having you do it over again, remain calm. It helps to have an air of confidence – no matter how many times they want it done, you can do it, and each time it will be better. Work-life brings with it a mountain of reasons to become frustrated, but the king of the mountain is the least frazzled. Willingness to do any task over and over and maintain a positive attitude is leading by example. If you master this skill, those above you will look to you as a role model.

 

  1. Be aware of co-workers and boss’ projects. An effective way to lead in a junior position is to be aware of what projects your direct boss and co workers are engaged with. This doesn’t mean you should jump in and help them, this can be obtrusive and unwelcome. It does mean however, that you will be ready and prepared if they ask for help. On occasion you can provide unsolicited help if it won’t be a burden to the other person and it will indeed lighten their load.

 

  1. Account for possible outcomes at a business level. Predicting possible outcomes will allow you to prepare solutions and follow-ups for business initiatives. John received an online order and sent it out yesterday, but the package could get lost among the 10 packages he sent, so John created a spreadsheet that will give quick access to tracking codes in the event that any should get lost. The list also contains the customer’s email address so the recipient can be notified promptly if anything goes wrong. Predicting negative outcomes allows you to create action plans to repair the situation. Evaluating positive outcomes affords you the ability to capitalize on them further. Having plans for multiple outcomes is an appreciated method for supporting your boss and company.
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