People Leadership Values

This page is maintained by @Stephane Roux

TL;DR: We strive to create a safe and trustful environment while investing in our people's growth. Here are the values that guide our leadership style.


Leading people is an important responsibility and we take it very seriously at Wonder. This document describes our approach to it. It‘s intended to guide people leaders, to define what we expect of them and to give reports a sense of what they can expect from their people leaders.

Below you will find some principles that all People Leads should try to live by, together with some practical suggestions for how to it. It’s perfectly fine for People Leads to interpret those principles in their own way - each team is different and we encourage all People Leads to develop their own authentic leadership style. So we don‘t enforce any particular methods or processes.

Wonder‘s People Leadership Values

Create a healthy and safe team environment

As People Lead, one of your first priorities is to create a healthy and safe team environment. This means that each member of the team feels that they are able to contribute, ask questions, criticise, experiment and fail, without being punished for it. At Wonder, we appreciate that people try things out and make mistakes. If people experience negative consequences from that, they will stop taking risks and be distracted by the attempt to not expose themselves.

To create such an environment, you have to

  • Encourage open discussions
  • Show that you are willing to be corrected in front of the team
  • Actively seek out diverging opinions
  • Be available and listen attentively when members of the team voice their concerns
  • React calmly and with understanding when things go wrong
  • Keep an eye on team morale
  • Share vulnerabilities with the team

Concrete tips: WIP

Trust people and treat them like adults

At Wonder, more than at other places, we trust each other to think like owners and figure out how to solve challenging problems. We invest a lot of time and resources to find the right people and we believe that with the right mix of autonomy and support, they can consistently outdo themselves. For this, we need to treat them like adults. This means:

  • Giving them the full picture: to think like an owner and solve problems on their own, people need the full picture. They need to know why we are doing things and have access to all the information required to reach decisions on their own.
  • Giving them challenging work: people want to solve difficult problems. Task-relevant maturity is key, but try to challenge yourself when letting someone from your team take over a challenging bit of work. Most growth happens at the margins of the comfort-zone and we prioritise growth over safety.
  • Giving them autonomy: if we expect people to own their work, they need to be able to make their own decisions. Sometimes, this means stepping back and letting people fail and learn. Over time, this produces better outcomes and more motivated teams.
  • Taking their ideas seriously: there is no point in searching for the right people and then ignoring their idea. If we do this repeatedly, those ideas will stop coming. Encourage people bringing up ideas and seriously consider them. Over time, they will be the source of most of the greatness that happens at Wonder.
  • Be candid: when we hold back uncomfortable things, we usually protect ourselves rather than the other person. People have a right to know if their work was not up to standard. It gives them the chance to improve.
  • Take their preferences into account: if people have a particular passion for a topic, that‘s a good reason to let them work on it. Passion is an important part of great work, so we try to take people‘s personal preferences into account.

Concrete tips: WIP

Set a high bar and invest in growth

Clear expectations, a difficult challenge and lots of support are the best ways for people to outdo themselves. At Wonder, we encourage people to leave their comfort zone and are happy to invest heavily in their personal growth. This means:

  • Taking time for coaching
  • Encouraging people to spend their personal dev budget: suggest to your team different ways in which they can use their personal development budget to use their goal
  • Give people realistic but ambitious goals
  • Give feedback often
  • Use the strength and drivers model

Concrete tips: WIP