Week 55: Let’s talk about leadership

So far we’ve never actively written about this huge, scary topic. Shall we give it a try?

Hello there and welcome to week 55 in the life of diesdas.digital. We’re seven people working on internet stuff in a small studio, located in Berlin and I am Harry, one of the founders. You’re reading our latest recap blog post: It’s part of a weekly series, in which we basically write a public company diary, reflecting on the myriad of things that happen everyday. Sounds weird? That’s because it is. You’re in for ride, here we go! 🎢

Sitting on a couch, so much fun (Santiago, Lorenz, Sharon, Nicolás). 😅

Shower thoughts of the week: Leadership

This week Medium chose me as a top writer in its „leadership“ category, which is ridiculous because I never specifically wrote anything on the topic. Anyhow, I take that as a token of encouragement and hereby rise to the challenge: Let’s talk about leadership, because it’s really frickin’ hard.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not want to pretend in the slightest that I’d be an expert or even particularly knowledgeable on the topic; quite to the contrary. With our small company we’re only dipping our toes into these deep waters … but letters on the internet are cheap, so I’ll share some thoughts nonetheless.

Coincidentally I had lunch with a former colleague the other day and was asked whether I ever had a truly excellent manager/boss at work. My immediate reaction was „yes, of course“, but only later I really considered the question and wondered what the qualities of great leadership are.

I came up with the following, listing goals for my own behavior and how to deal with the responsibility that comes with running a company.

Good leadership…

  • … sees the potential in people and encourages them to realize it without making that process scary.
  • … doesn’t blame, but always looks for solutions.
  • … shows a goal, but doesn’t dictate how to get there, giving people freedom to explore.
  • … sees the bigger picture, but also cares about the details and nuances.
  • … takes other opinions seriously and is able to reconsider.
  • … is empathetic.

To me the last point is especially crucial. With all the daily hustle and the countless decisions you face every day, it’s hard enough to really listen to people, let alone remembering later what they said and acting on it. But this is how you build trust; this is how you establish that we’re all in this together and how you make this adventure worthwhile for everybody, not just a few. It’s about keeping your promises and truly caring.

Unfortunately leadership is an absolutely crucial topic that they don’t teach you anything about in school—instead you’re forced to gain your own experiences and that means inevitably you’re going to make mistakes: We’re giving our best to avoid the obvious ones, recognizing those that happen nonetheless and try to be better prepared the next time.

It’s not for me to assess whether we meet the aforementioned goals ourselves on a daily basis. Probably not all the time, but we’re observing, learning and improving. ♻️

Office impressions I

Challenges we encountered this week, randomly listed:

  • Onboarding new people takes a lot of time and energy, but also prompts you to reflect on your established practices.
  • Implementing advertising on the web is still incredibly painful. 😰
  • We need some kind of financial forecasting as soon as possible, to base our decisions less on emotion and more on information.
  • Maintenance work on projects is always tricky to squeeze in.
  • People want to see more case studies and work samples from us. Understandably so, we’re working on it.
  • All projects, no matter how small, need dedicated project management and agreed-upon milestones, reviews and launch dates. Otherwise nothing ever gets done.
Impressions II

Decisions we made this week:

  • Don’t disturb people when they wear headphones (duh!).
  • Meetings currently eat up too much of our precious work hours, so we decided to only have them before 10 in the morning, at 2pm directly after lunch or after 5pm. All other time slots are not-available by default. And all too often the best meeting is obviously no meeting at all.
  • Our own website doesn’t appropriately reflect what we do or who we are. We still like it, but we need to change it so it doesn’t read like an announcement blog post.

What’s else is new?

Apart from the obvious (🇺🇸 😣):

  • We’re working with Thomas Helbig on a freelance basis now, but he didn’t want to appear on any photos. Fair enough, we have to respect that. 🙃
  • We bought 10 stools, a meeting room table, a giant tv and a lunch table for the new office. It’s coming together (see photos above). #ersteeigenebude
  • Lorenz is back at HTW, teaching HTML and CSS. So proud and happy that we find the time to do this. 🤗
  • It was Robert’s last day with us on Friday… thank you for all the support, we sincerely hope to work together again soon! 🖖 (Also, in case you need help with brand positioning and strategy in the future: look no further and hire this guy! Or hire us both, even better. 😅)
  • Max has a dog now and he brought it to the office. Amazing how the general mood changes for the better with a furry friend around. 🐶
  • You all gave us a lot of feedback on this ongoing series of blog posts and some of it is already being worked into this post, with plans to improve the upcoming ones as well. Thank you! If you have anything to add, the form is still open! 🖊️

Alright, that’s it for today.

If you liked this post, consider clicking the little heart [❤️]—that would be a fantastic encouragement! But in any case we hope you’re having a fantastic weekend and a chill start of the week!

See you around next week,
Harry and the crew at diesdas.digital

Byee! ✌️

diesdas.digital is a nimble branding and product development studio in Berlin, featuring an interdisciplinary team of seven designers, developers and strategists, each with years of experience in branding, interaction design and programming. We create tailor-made digital solutions with an agile mindset and a smile on our faces. You can hire us—let’s work together! 🙌

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