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Bad design managers, Write like you design, The future of design systems

149: The damage of bad design managers, Derivation of Dieter Rams’s principles to illustrate how writing is often the same as design, Unlocking design theming and logic with Figma Variables.

Alex Dovhyi
Alex Dovhyi
3 min read
Welcome to this week's 🔥 Campfire — a subscriber only edition, delivered each Friday, highlighting the most interesting findings on product design, freelancing, career, and personal growth.

Bad design managers

Designers move up on the career ladder as they gain experience. However, the ladder eventually runs out of levels for individual contributors. IC designers have no alternative but to become Design Managers to continue advancing.

The problem most designers who just started their manager roles face is no training for managing people and responsibilities.

Thirty-seven years ago, Steve Jobs said the best managers never actually want to be managers (Source: Inc.).

You know who the best managers are? They're the great individual contributors who never, ever want to be a manager, but decide they want to be a manager, because no one else is going to be able to do as good a job as them.

While what's said by Jobs is true, lots of design managers end up in one of the two extremes, as Hardik Pandya, author of "Bad Design Managers" points out:

Most new design managers end up on one of the two extremes:

  • Keep operating like ICs, continue doing bulk of the work themselves
  • Get into an extreme delegation mode, pushing all the work to their reports

Both of these are bad.

In his article, Hardik talks about the cause of bad design managers, what good design managers do, and how to create great design managers.

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