A not-so-serious guide to becoming the #1 designer in the house
1. Greet the boss as if you were best friends
Entering the room and greeting the boss loudly with a big grin on your face is a great way to appear being at home. Who cares if the boss responds timidly or if half of the design team raise their eyebrows. You sent the signal, and that’s what matters. Your colleagues now start wondering what’s going on in the background. Put your iPhone X on the table and chill.
2. Add weight to your argument by saying you’ve read a book on the topic
Once one of your colleagues brings up an interesting topic, wait for one or two other team members to join in and than add your two cents by stating you’ve read an amazing book exactly on this topic. There’s not much free room for a designer to navigate around statements supported by Alan Cooper or released under Rosenfeld Media. Thereafter, even your most obvious statement will be accepted with deep respect. Listen, the experts are speaking.
3. Say you’re already working on it
A good problem is one that generates many other. If your colleague describes some sticky problem and the others listen carefully to learn more about this new potential pet of theirs, jump right in and say you’re on it for some time already. You already did some very promising sketches last Saturday! Nobody can be mad at you for being dedicated and proactive. A pro tip: Don’t forget to delegate later on.
4. To distract, throw in a joke
If the team gets in the zone and starts dismantling your prototype a bit more than you want, a little distraction can be handy. Joke about someone in the room, make a hyperbolic statement. Anything from notes about your colleague’s thinking face expression, to commenting on their tendency to decorate user interface with question mark icons will interrupt their flow. Even a subtle insult is ok, especially if followed by a good laugh. Laughing is contagious and healthy, right? They won’t get how come you never have to defend all the tiny details of your work.
5. Steal your colleague’s ideas
The room temperature rises, it’s time to pepper the discussion with your opinion, and you’re not having the best day, are you? Simply repeat an idea of your colleague. Use your “this is important” voice. Junior and female colleagues are the best ones to borrow from, they tend to try harder and therefore have good ideas up their sleeves. You’ll not only surprise the room with your wisdom, but the weaker heads will even be happy hearing you have same opinion as they do.
6. Paint a picture of a roadblock and get a 1-on-1
To ensure you move fast, the smartest move is speaking directly with the boss. If there is a roadblock preventing you from doing an excellent job, every boss will be open to having regular 1-on-1 meetings. They want you to be productive. Once you get your foot in the door, just stick to the topic and gently drop into the discussion all the other amazing things you want to achieve.
7. Connect the roadblock with your bosses KPIs
Don’t you feel hooked when somebody has the same goal as you? I do, you do, and the boss does too. Join the dots between your roadblock and your bosses KPIs and get to work. From now on, it’ll be easy to get things approved and delegate all the shitty work. Just stand by your boss watch them do their magic.
8. Drop names
It sounds like a crazy idea to speak at work about job offers you’ve received. Actually, speaking about hackathons of cool companies you visited, your side projects and experience with recruiters makes you look damn good. If you want your colleagues to have the impression that they can never keep up and your boss to be open to increasing your salary, just keep dropping names regularly. Let them know that this top dog is not one to be taken for granted.
9. Update the crowd about your awesomeness
Everytime you bookmark a link or highlight a paragraph, let the crowds know about it. Anytime you finish a project phase, hold a demo and a QnA session. Blog about it, prepare a case study, write memoirs, fake interviews, whatever. Those who won’t be able to unsubscribe from your omnipresence might be a bit frustrated, but it’s such a low price compared to the amount of fans you’ll gain. Slack, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, there are so many tools at your thumb!
10. If you’ve hit promotion already, repeat the above.
Claps and shares are for losers but make things visible! 👍
How I Became a UX Leader in a Year and You Can Too was originally published in UX Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.