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The soft skills of a product manager
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The soft skills of a product manager

The unique and diverse skills of a product manager

Soft skills of a good product manager

Finding a good product manager can be difficult! A product manager needs to have unique and diverse skills and character traits to be successful. Most possess some common soft skills and use those to work towards making sure the overall product task is completed and achieves the desired results within the stipulated deadlines. [1]

Here are ten qualities and character traits a product manager should possess (and continue to improve upon) to ensure that things happen effectively and to keep inspiring others:

1. Be a team player

  • A good product manager understands the significance of teamwork and is aware that collaboration is going to produce the best results.

2. Be trusting

  • A product manager can be a good team member if they trust their teammates.
  • Having faith in co-workers prevents micro-management and related adverse consequences.

3. Use clear communication

  • Product managers should adopt a style of communication that is clear and concise with a well-thought-out process.
  • This means that exemplary public-speaking skills, written communication, and articulation are valuable assets for a good product manager.

4. Make use of good leadership

  • Product managers must align their subordinates and team members with the vision of the organisation.
  • Product managers should lead by example, motivating teammates, providing necessary guidance, and preventing team members from getting distracted from their goals.

5. Be able to prioritise

  • Product managers must be able to recognise and filter out white noise and separate the significant from the insignificant.
  • Designing a prioritisation framework based on organisational values and team norms helps product managers make informed decisions and justify their actions.

6. Have a strong focus on process building

  • The product management focus should be on building processes. These should include identifying a problem, how the team interacts and communicates with one another, expectations of the product, expectations and tasks of the team, timelines, success and quality metrics, and how business decisions are made.

7. Use strategic thinking

  • It is imperative to monitor changing industry landscapes and competitive strategies for product positioning.

8. Engage in problem-solving:

  • Product managers use their problem-solving skills to do the following:
    • produce a product that solves a problem for its users
    • eliminate hurdles that would prevent the product’s team from achieving its goals.

9. Keep their curiosity alive

  • Product managers should stay curious about the market and the customers. To this end, they will need to:
    • communicate with users frequently
    • use marketing data analytics tools to get better insights
    • perform a SWOT analysis
    • use new technologies.

10. Have empathy:

  • Empathy is the most important quality of a product manager. They need to be empathetic towards all their consumers, users, and teams.

An example of a successful product manager who has embraced both hard and soft skills is Jon Bell, the Senior Product Manager at Netflix. Jon manages one of the most widely used virtual products. Viewing his LinkedIn profile [2] will provide some insight into how Netflix works, as well as how he performs as a product manager in the online space.

Here are some tips you can use to become a better product manager and harness the qualities and skills discussed earlier:

  • Cultivate a deep knowledge of your consumer base.
  • Simply explain your product strategy plan.
  • Understand your product’s context and limitations.
  • Prioritise essential tasks that need to be done.
  • Motivate and inspire your team with goals, collaboration, and good work.

Here is an optional article that gives some tips for new product managers to be successful in their first week on the job.

Read: Tips for the new product manager: your first week [3]

References

  1. Judson S. How to become a product manager, straight from a Hubspot PM; Hubspot Blog; 2021 June 17. Available from: https://blog.hubspot.com/service/become-product-manager
  2. Bell J. LinkedIn profile [Internet]. LinkedIn; [date unknown]. Available from: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joncbell/
  3. Michener E. Tips for the new product manager: your first week. Atlassian; Available from: https://www.atlassian.com/agile/product-management/tips-for-new-product-manager
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Product Management Essentials

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