Leadership Design: How To Design a Better Boss

Using Adobe’s 4 Golden Rules of Design, I came up with 4 golden rules for a great leader.

Toku McCree
ILLUMINATION

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Photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash

I’ve had over 30 jobs in my life and that means I’ve had 30+ bosses, leaders, and managers to deal with. I’ve worked for almost every kind of boss you can imagine: the boss who shouts orders, the boss who seems to care but fails to back you up, and the boss who is a genuinely compassionate person.

Over time I began to realize that all leaders, like apps or buildings, have a certain design. Some of the ones I worked for had a leadership design that made doing work easier and my office life enjoyable. While others had such bad leadership design that not only was it hard to do good work, it made me not want to work at all.

When I became a coach and started coaching the kind of people I used to work for, I started to wonder what might happen if you applied design principles to leadership.

Could you design a better boss?

Here’s what I found:

Leadership as a Function of Design

Adobe identifies 4 golden rules of User Design¹:

  1. Place users in control of the interaction

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Toku McCree
ILLUMINATION

Executive coach and writer. I’ve toured with rock bands, trained as a zen monk, and taught preschool. My hope is that my writing makes you think.