Essential Product Management Skills: What You Need to Succeed
Communication is key
Communication is key
As cliché as it sounds, if you really want to get down to it, business communication should be at the top of your skillset. Product management skills are interlinked each one building onto the other.
Analyzing metrics, managing conflict, and refreshing the product vision and strategy in the heart and mind of your team all have one thing in common: interacting with others.
Product managers are more people-centered than you think, working as both leaders and members when following up with their teams — after a meeting, interacting with customers, and discussing market trends and customer behavior.
As the “communication center” for your company, you need to master this soft skillset when working with stakeholders, product teams, and customers.
In a talk by David Wascha, the Chief Product & Technology Officer at Zoopla, he insisted that your job is to be “maniacally focused” on your customers as a product manager.
Spend time listening to your customer’s problems to come up with the best and viable solutions. Encourage your team to also listen and give them opportunities to formulate breakthrough solutions towards a realistic product roadmap that will ultimately resonate with your company’s goals.
Knowing How to Use Psychology to Communicate Effectively
Creating a space of open communication, vulnerability, safety, and encouragement of input and collaboration for your team is crucial to being a successful product manager.
Your daily work requires you to handle uncertainty, pressure, setbacks, and glitches. At the same time, your team relies on you to create an environment to handle pressures and deadlines to bring innovative and reliable ideas to life.
Your role as a product manager includes these important psychological responsibilities:
Managing Uncertainty — In times of uncertainty, your job is to create a plan that helps your team stay connected to have a sense of control and normalcy.
COVID-19 has made remote communication more essential than ever and replaced most in-person interaction. While telecommuting has been the standard for most businesses, some are just adapting to remote communication. Understanding everyone’s challenges and keeping your team motivated and organized is paramount to success.
Empathy — Seeing eye to eye not only relates to your customers but also your own team members. Addressing concerns and challenges directly and regularly make for more effective solutions.
Vulnerability — Foster an environment of trust and encourage engagement to boost teamwork. Be vulnerable, share your doubts, mistakes, and concerns as a leader while being respectful. Your team members are comprised of talented and skilled contributors who want to be involved and acknowledged for their ideas.
Creativity — Motivate your team to be creative in brainstorming sessions and ask for innovative approaches to problems rather than having them follow directions. Recognize talent and acknowledge initiative to boost morale and appreciation.
Trust — Give your team members the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities without micromanaging. Establish clear objectives and timelines to maintain productivity and avoid stress burnout from setting unrealistic expectations. Backing your team members creates trust and loyalty.
To sum up
A product manager is a balance of technical, analytical, research, and developmental skills reinforced by communication and psychological awareness.
Conflict resolution and proper communication skills are key elements to being a successful product manager and team leader.
You create a culture of productivity to keep everything flowing in the right direction, whether you’re new or an established professional.
Product and Tech enthusiast sharing experiences while on my journey.