Steve Watson
easyJet (UK)


Steve is Senior Quality Engineering Manager at easyJet, having joined at the end of January this year, where he is responsible for the testing approach across the Airline Operations area. He has been in Testing for many years working in a diverse range of industries from banking and finance, futures & options, vehicle leasing, automotive and chemicals, working up through the ranks from tester to senior manager/director level. As a test leader, Steve is an advocate of testers being involved at all levels of the SDLC to enable us to add value as early as possible, and has an keen interest in how we can make applications more accessible. Steve has written various magazine articles, writes the occasional blog post, has been a guest on the Testing Peers podcast and has spoken at many conferences. Outside of work, Steve presents a weekly Saturday morning radio show on a local station in the south of England.

About the Presentation

Things I Wish I’d Known 20 years ago as a new leader
Session Speech


It was whilst listening to a podcast on leadership and imposter syndrome, that I realised that the conversation was something that I wished I had heard 20 years ago when moving into my first test leadership role, as it would have helped me realise that I was not the only one! Apparently imposter syndrome is very common, but like mental health struggles, often remains hidden, yet you’d be surprised by how many people genuinely struggle with this. Lack of a good role model or coach also hampered my efforts to be successful as I had no-one to guide me.

I kept finding other instances where I would hear people being open about their vulnerabilities, anxieties and mental health struggles, and wished I had known this as well, so I started to compile a list. This gave me the idea to share my thoughts with a wider audience, based on the ‘if you could go back to your younger self, what advice would you give’ format.

I will share some very personal experiences, including one from an early leadership role which left me in a negative place, where I’ll explain the situation, how I coped (barely) and what I would do differently now in that same situation.

Then I’ll expand on this by looking at different areas that we struggle with – imposter syndrome, anxiety, stress, saying ‘No’, and what we think others expect from us, and explore in more detail.

I believe that by opening up to others, we can avoid trying to deal with things alone, adding more stress when it is not needed.

Creating an open culture makes discuss anxieties and concerns the normal thing to do.

By sharing our concerns, it shows strength, not weakness, and enables us to become better, more compassionate leaders.

And becoming allies to others who are going through difficult times we can help them to create a positive outcome.

Finally I will share some tips and ideas as to how to reach out to others, either to ask for help or to offer it.