My manager read-me

Timothy Kolke
3 min readNov 25, 2022


Read this to learn about my leadership approach, what I look for when hiring, and how I add value to my team and the business.

Leadership approach

I’m a practical, hands-on leader who actively collaborates with the other product leads on vision and strategy and who engages in the day-to-day design work by coaching and empowering the designers on my team.

I use a situational delegation model with my team to help us align on expectations regarding working independently, coaching, guidance and frequency of check-ins.

Image of the delegation model which has directing, dialogue, developing and disengage
Delegation model

My commitment to the team

I’ll always have your back and will take ultimate responsibility for the work we do together. I’ll never throw you, my team members, under the bus.

I will pro-actively work with you on growing your career. This includes taking the time to learn about each person on my team so I can understand their unique abilities and aspirations.

And I’ll do my best to coach rather than micro-manage. This means giving you the freedom to decide how you want to solve the problems.

What I ask for from the team

The main thing is taking ownership. It’s my hope that each team member takes initiative and doesn’t wait to be told to move things forward. I love it when people feel like our team is their own team and that they get to make it the team they want.

Curiosity and coachability.

Strive for excellence in your craft and inform your design work with big picture thinking and an understanding of the user and the business.

Know how you want to grow personally and professionally. Also, it’s okay if you don’t know, but let’s figure it out together.

Include agendas in meeting invites (always :) )

What I look for when hiring

Character is always first. When hiring, I look for humility, curiosity in the ideas of others and a genuine desire to collaborate with others. I’m interested in working with people who seek out opportunities to help others, even when it’s not in their job description.

On our team I encourage being curious about the perspectives of other people, being conscientious about taking care of details, and being open to change.

Excellence in craft and ability for both big picture thinking and detailed design work.

Well rounded as people and designers.

Go-getters with a can-do attitude.

How I add value to the business

Supporting and empowering my team is number one. If I’m doing the work, it’s just one person, if the team is doing it, we are a force. I do this through coaching and letting each team member carry the responsibility for their role (i.e. not micromanaging).

Strategic input and broad-spanning UX projects.

Building allyship with other teams. This helps with effectiveness and efficiency.

Seeing around corners. Helping us avoid risks when possible.

How I typically spend my time

I balance my time between the following areas

  • Strategizing and planning overall UX activities to ensure we are creating a holistic experience for our users based on a deep understanding of our customers
  • Providing a UX vision and strategy that forms a clear experience direction, that prioritizes the user’s needs and ensures we are set up to make the right decisions for our customers
  • Ensuring that execution teams are applying the UX vision and strategy holistically to improve the end user experience and empower team members to champion the user throughout implementation
  • Project-level support for my team members (e.g. 1:1 coaching and problem solving, Weekly project health check-in, Weekly design review)
  • Supporting career path growth and team culuture (1:1s focused on career growth, career path process development, people related admin)
  • Collaborating with other team leads to improve process between teams
  • Hands-on with broad spanning design projects that require oversight, e.g. app architecture and global navigation
  • Random things that inevitably come up every week

My mission as a manager

Build awesome design teams who enjoy working together and do amazing work (usable and enjoyable) and add value to the business.



Timothy Kolke

Curious about design, research and humans / Head of UX @ Later