Good UX Leader, Bad UX Leader: A Survey of Leadership Traits

Visual representation of various leadership traits


Leadership Traits


  • People insist on giving unnecessary advice.
  • Expertise is despised and shunned.
  • Leaders are abusive — emotionally, mentally, etc.
  • Workers are handcuffed, hogtied, blocked, restricted, and ignored on every side and then criticized about what’s not getting done.
  • All criticism, no cultivation.
  • Poor and toxic behavior is tolerated, because it doesn’t impact the leader (i.e., they’re out of touch with things that detrimentally impact others).
  • The isms are on full display — racism, sexism, ageism, cronyism, etc.
  • People say one thing in writing, but another when explaining verbally and punish people for not knowing what they meant by what was said in writing.
  • Criticizing employees for not meeting expectations that were never documented, presented, or expressed (i.e., criticizing them for not being able to read the leader’s mind).
  • Toxic people are celebrated because of their talent and their toxicity is overlooked and ignored.
  • Contradictions abound. For example, a person claims you need to embrace the input and views of others, but if you don’t work the same way they would work or make decisions the same way they would, you are criticized or invalidated.
  • The company has DEI efforts that are all for show, confirmed by people constantly and regularly contradicting what’s presented in the aforementioned efforts.
  • Akin to the last point, employees are empowered to discriminate.
  • Unqualified leaders abound.
  • Employees are evaluated based on water cooler conversations they weren’t a part of and conclusions are drawn without any input from the person being scrutinized.
  • The leaders fail to stand up for their employees when misjudged or criticized unfairly.
  • Free snacks, games, and non-work activities abound.

About Darren



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UX Uncensored

UX Uncensored


Darren Hood: UX pro (27+ yrs), adjunct professor, TEDx and conference speaker, author (97 Things UX book), host of The World of UX podcast, & “pure UX” advocate