By Puja Lakhlani – Head of Product Management @ UST Product Engineering
The ability to empower, inspire, set the direction, and guide your team, or the entire organization is called leadership. It is a very important skill in product management because every product manager, or product team makes decisions about how to evolve a product pretty much on a daily basis. To build a successful product, this means that it meets all its needs like feasibility, profitability, viability and usability. These micro decisions that you need to make as a product manager, they need to be aligned with the overall product direction and strategy.
In this context, leadership means you as the product manager should own this responsibility. So we can establish that leadership is a critical element in product management. This means that you are able to rally your teams, stakeholders and customers. It’s about creating that necessary energy to turn product aspiration, vision, goals, into actual, tangible results.
Depending on the culture of your organization, employers may be looking for servant leadership characteristics. A servant leader is one who shares power and puts the needs of the team first and helps them develop and perform as best as possible. This approach not only empowers the team but also aligns with the collaborative nature of successful product development.
As a product manager, a good leadership trait is also about building self awareness and emotional intelligence. This means letting you of your ego and genuinely being able to slow down to listen and observe. Be humble enough to learn and make changes if needed. When speaking with prospective employers you’ll often get asked about the approach in solving conflicts, what your guiding values and principles are and how you can nurture and guide your team towards your product’s vision, emphasizing the importance of these values.
1. Becoming more data informed:
Learn about both qualitative and quantitative aspects of data to make informed decisions as a product manager. This helps ensure that your leadership is based on evidence and insights, which leads to more efficient decision making.
2. Experiment and learn:
Like any other skills, leadership is an evolving skill. It is important that you learn from your successes and failures, to hone the skill even further.
3. Develop processes and practices to improve teamwork:
Effective leadership involves developing processes and practices that enhance teamwork. As product managers, it is your responsibility to foster an environment where continuous improvement is encouraged well.
4. Remain humble
It is important to remain humble, learn from your mistakes, and always be open for feedback. It is also essential to learn from others and keep a constant connection with the team for the same.
Hence, leadership is not just a mere skill, but a very important trait that product managers need to utilize because it shapes the trajectory of your products and teams. Embracing servant leadership, building self-awareness, becoming more data informed, experimenting and learning, developing processes and practices to improve teamwork are important ways to build leadership skills as a product manager.
The main ways by which you can achieve product leadership are becoming more data informed, experimenting and learning, developing processes and practices to improve teamwork.
A servant leader is one who shares power and puts the needs of the team first and helps them develop and perform as best as possible.
Self awareness and emotional intelligence is helpful in understanding how your actions influence the attitude and productivity of employees. It can also help you understand the perspective of your employees better.
About the Author:
Puja Lakhlani – Head of Product Management @ UST Product Engineering
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