The Most Important Question in Leadership

And when you should be asking it.

Billy Frazier
4 min readOct 20, 2023
Credit: Pexels

A few months ago, I received one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever gotten, and (gasp!) it was from my employer.¹

I became a people leader.

As someone who cares more about people than anything else in my career, this meant the world to me. After all, I’ve read about leadership, written about leadership, and I’ve coached people for over a decade, just without the official title.

Now that I have the title, this means I’m accountable for my first official direct report.

As much as I hate the label “direct report,” I couldn’t be more excited about this professional relationship. After all, this isn’t your average managing relationship — we’re talking about “people leadership” here.

What exactly is the difference?

Well, since Slalom has a habit of hiring high performers, there tends to be very little management of actual work. Most of our consultants self-manage their own workload which means we get to have more nuanced conversations around opportunities and growing edges.

In other words, people leadership is less managing and more coaching. We get to connect with our people and learn more about what makes them tick — their hopes, goals, and…



Billy Frazier

Principal experience designer, writer, and leader who’s fumbling forward through a creative career while helping others do the same.