When to be a Dhoni, or a Kohli, or a Kumble
Which brings us to the question at hand - do leadership styles really matter? What style should a Product Manager adopt as she goes around the organisation and corrals stakeholders from different departments into supporting her with her product goals? Add to this mix the fact that a Product Manager is usually an individual contributor and has to exercise influence with people up and down the chain of command without any authority at all.
Here are some leadership “avatars” a Product Manager must don while doing her job -
Be a Dhoni with Deadlines - When deadlines loom on the calendar, Murphy’s law seems to kick into high gear. Anything that can go wrong seems to do so. It pays to be ice cold when this happens - to rely on data to make decisions, and to keep a cool mind to dig into your memory bank for best known methods of what worked previously. It’s time to bank on process and rigor during such crunch situations, and come out a winner.
Leak the passion like Kohli - When you’re pitching to investors, or showcasing your product to the press or even motivating the team to put in that extra effort before launch, it pays to leak the passion. When people see that you care for what you’re building, and see the spark in your eyes when you talk of a feature or benefit, they will start caring too. Talk about the perseverance that went into the design, about the insights you got during customer interviews that motivated you to excel - give a human face to the endeavour.
Never say die like Kumble - Being a great product manager does not mean just launching a slew of great products. There will be wins and losses along the way. What matters though, is the determination to not give up - to learn the valuable lessons that only failure can teach and get back into the field and play. This is something “successful” entrepreneurs - product managers each and every one of them - experience repeatedly.