Leadership for Principal Interior Designers- Element 1

Perhaps you are a successful interior designer who is now faced with the challenges of building and leading a team. Or maybe you are a member of a design firm and have been put in charge of managing the design or administrative teams. Whatever the case, if your role within the firm is to lead and manage operations and develop and lead its team, you are charged with a huge responsibility that requires specific skills. Over the next couple months I am going to be addressing Leadership for Principal Interior Designers. I will also be speaking on the subject at the Business of Design Conference in New York, September 1st and 2nd.BOD Logo

If you haven't already registered, you really should. It is tremendously valuable for interior designers running their own business and you will get back way more than you invest in getting there. Guaranteed! So, take the plunge and just do it.

I want to start this leadership series with the 7 principals that I've defined as areas of mastery for the Principal Interior Designer:

1. The Core - Internal elements of the Self

2. The Skin - Presentation of the Self

3. Projection - Principles of communication

4. Contact with the environment - Etiquette and simple interaction

5. Interaction within complex environments - Principles of human behavior and leadership in the workplace

6. Management within complex relationship networks - Principles of managing relationships and business in the workplace

7. Expanded sphere of influence - Principles of power and leadership

Let's start with ‘The Core' elements today. I describe them as the internal elements of the self. We often think of leadership as relating to the external world, and it does, but it does indeed radiate from the inside out. So start by evaluating yourself in the Core's 10 elements. How good are you at these? How comfortable are you in these areas?

Ultimately, strengthening or becoming more comfortable in all areas of your internal core will allow you to lead from the inside outward. This is the source of your strength, your stability, the extent of your influence.

1. The Core

Internal Elements of the Self

Rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 5. Use 1 for not at all in touch or comfortable and 5 being very aware and comfortable with that aspect of yourself.

Spiritual awareness



Emotional stability

Mental clarity

Physical stamina


Comfort with the self

Comfort with intimacy - (conversing at a deeper level, allowing vulnerability, prolonged eye contact etc.)

Positive expectation

These qualities allow one to do the following:

Model consistency of character

Employ honest communication

Value transparency

Exemplify humility

Demonstrate support of others

Fulfill ones promises

Embrace an attitude of service

Encourage two-way communication

And the good news is, you're a designer. You're naturally good at these things. After all, you influence people all day long. This is why you went into business for yourself. You have the gumption to tell people what looks good and what they need!

Until next time, be well and expect great things-

Julia Alexander Molloy


Julia Alexander Molloy, President of Molloy Management Group: Julia Molloy is the premier operations specialist for the interior design industry. She is the founder and President of Molloy Management Group, Inc. Molloy has a wealth of knowledge from design, operations and the technology sector. She is a sought after speaker, a Better Practices Network Presenter and Faculty member, continued education specialist to the faculty at New York School of Interior Design, a member of ASID and IIDA. ...

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