Product Manager’s Handbook #3: How To Be A Great Product Management Leader?
First, we need to discuss what it means to be a good leader. Because there’s a big difference between leaders and managers. Of course, managers can be leaders but it’s not a given. Great leaders inspire their teams to execute the vision to the best of their abilities. But this is not achieved only through assigning tasks. A good leader will create a sense of ownership of the goals in each team member and inspire them to take proactive action. So, how can you achieve that? Here’s 7 key things to keep in mind.
All Articles In This Series:
- Two Key Principles Of Product Management
- How To Make The Best Project Decisions As A Product Manager
- How To Be A Great Product Management Leader?
- Why Is UX So Important For Product Managers?
- Using UX Techniques To Make Better Product Decisions
- The Best Mental Models For Product Managers
- Testing From The Product Manager’s Perspective
- How To Use Deadlines Effectively In Product Management?
- 6 Biggest Myths About Product Development
- A Day In Life Of A Product Manager
1. Strategy Comes First
The first and probably most important thing you need to do as a leader is to constantly remind everyone of the goals and the strategy. It may come unnaturally to you, to be a broken record and repeat the same things every week, but if you want your team to take ownership and to internalize the vision behind the product, that’s what you need to do. And ultimately, that’s the key to building a strong, focused team. Sometimes even a single person that’s off-track and not focused on the long-term strategy can slow down the entire project.
2. Don’t Correct Your Team’s Mistakes
Next thing you need to do is to stop correcting your team’s mistakes. I know what you’re thinking. “Why shouldn’t I correct their mistakes? Won’t it lead to more problems in the future?” But it’s not so much about overlooking your team’s mistakes, as it is about pointing them out in a different way. If you simply correct them, it will take away from your team’s sense of ownership and engagement. However, if you use the right questions during the product development process it will direct their attention to the problem and force them to come up with a solution. It’s a case of giving your team a fishing rod, instead of the fish. You need to guide them and lead them, but don’t take away the opportunity to learn from their mistakes from your team.
3. Force Transparency
A great leader will also put a strong emphasis on transparency. Your team needs to know what they stand on at all times. Setting up a process for sharing project progress, updates etc. is going to be very beneficial for the entire team. If everyone knows whether the project is going in the right or wrong direction, they can take action accordingly and then evaluate the results. Creating transparency is much better than providing people with a fake sense of security and success, because it forces people to take accountability for the project and their work. Some managers who aspire to be leaders tend to think that making everyone happy all the time is their job, but if you want to be a truly great leader you need to avoid that type of thinking.
4. Project Confidence, Optimism And Urgency
Great leaders need to be able to make their team feel secure, even if things outside of the project aren’t going so well. That’s because most people tend not to be the most creative when worrying about the future of their job. As a leader, you need to project confidence, optimism and urgency all at once. It’s one of the hardest things about being a leader. Keeping up appearances might seem like lying to your team but that’s not the case here. Your positive attitude and motivation is crucial if you want your team to be invested into the project.
5. Step Up When It’s Needed
You may remember from the first episode of the Product Manager’s Handbook Series that being useless is what every PM should strive for. However, it’s not always possible. Ideally, your team will become self-sufficient with time but until that happens, you might need to step in sometimes. If your team struggles to meet a deadline, you need to help them. It will gain their trust and respect if you show that there’s no task too small for you – even if the task is to find a tester or write a small copy.
6. Remember That You Set Creative Boundaries For Your Team
If a team’s leader doesn’t think big, the team members will follow. People don’t want to overstep their leaders. That’s what you need to be aware of. The way you think and act will set an example for the rest of the team. So think big and long-term, let your team know that it’s okay to step outside the box and come up with very unusual solutions. Leaders need to be enablers not stoppers.
7. Let Other Leaders Emerge
I touched on this a little in the previous episodes, but if a new leader emerges among your team, don’t undermine them. Support them and give them more authority. Your goal as a Product Manager and as a great leader should be to make yourself completely useless. Because that’s when your team can completely take care of themselves and manage their own work efficiently and effectively.
The Bottom Line
As a Product Manager you should learn how to be a leader as well. Being a great leader will make it easier for you and your team to achieve goals and work better. So – implement those things in your daily work to deliver better results.
To watch the Product Manager’s Handbook Series, click here to visit our YouTube channel. If you’re looking for an experienced team you can work with to create and launch the best mobile and web products – contact us and let’s get your project started!