Confessions of a design leader

People people people

I know this is obvious but I so often forget it. Whenever I feel stressed or out of control, it’s because I’ve not been paying attention to people. Whether it’s my immediate leadership team, the amazing cast of people that make things like recruitment or risk work, or even just myself, when I prioritise things (packs, emails etc) and events (meetings, workshops, etc) over people, stuff falls over. The bank is a bruising place subject to near-constant change, and so being there for the team is my utmost focus before anything else.

A recent team day on which an acting coach got us out of our comfort zones

A right-brain in a sea of lefts

Staying connected to the craft

I guess nobody gets into design to approve timesheets or fight for budgets. It’s a funny thing to feel jealous when a talented designer shows you the beautiful thing they’ve created, or feeling confused when you see a new piece of software that others are comfortable with. This disconnection with the actual process of design is disorientating for me, as my comfort-zone is in a small team working through knotty questions.

A recent sketch to capture a complex question many teams are seeking to answer. It’s not perfect but was a good chance to draw my perspective and help cut through noise

Busy is the new stupid

This has been the toughest one for me. In a big bank like ours there are no shortage of meetings, and due to ongoing transformation fallout, it’s tempting to confuse meetings with being wanted.

Insecurity rules

My toughest daily battle is with myself, wondering whether I’m qualified to lead some of the smartest people that I’ve ever been lucky to work with. When visiting new labs and coming across members of the team I’ve not seen in some time, imposter-syndrome bites hard. On occasion I’ve tried to mask this, falling back on banter or worse, retreating into the background while others talk for me.



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Ross Breadmore

Ross Breadmore

Mum asked for a baby, dad asked for a transformer - I was the compromise. Chief product officer at 4G Capital.