Bosses Seek Confidence and Avoid Risks

For the most part, leaders are intent on reducing the risk that an offering might not be successful enough to advance your organization.

Search for Empathy

Bringing empathy to design is very important if you want to add meaning to the products and services we create. In this series Indi Young (author of Mental Models and founding partner of Adaptive Path) shares her thoughts about this subject.

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Leaders want to see how well an idea works before investing time and money developing it. Leaders don’t want to waste resources. They want to feel confident. They want their investors to feel confident, and their employees to feel confident. They want to know the organization has done everything possible to ensure success and done everything possible to discover concealed opportunities.

Notice the focus on the organization, almost forgetting about the people the organization serves.

Leaders are all about making the organization successful. Organizations, in turn, are all about making their customers successful. Or that’s how it’s supposed to be. Frequently leaders seed the organization with organization-focused goals, and the people you are trying to help become secondary.

Notice, too, that fear of failure and desire for confidence are emotions. The leaders I know would be unlikely to say, “I guide this organization based on emotion.” Instead, most leaders focus on knowledge that will create a feeling of confidence, and frequently this gets defined as statistics, numbers, graphs, and projections.

Don’t fight this. Empathize and turn your insights into valuable material for him or her.

Indi Young

Indi Young is a problem solver by heart. She is the author of 'Mental Models' (Rosenfeld Media) and has been working as a consultant on web applications since 1995. In 2001 she co-founded Adaptive Path. Indi has worked with many different clients, including Visa, Charles Schwab, Sybase, Agilent, Dow Corning, Microsoft, and PeopleSoft.

One comment on this article

  1. Johnny Labriola on

    I would agree with this 100% if you swaped the word Leader for Manager. Some Managers claim to be leaders but are really not. Leaders take risk and ad okay with investing a little bit to see if it will pan out.

    But overall I agree we need to empathize with our business partners as we do with our users. :)