Are you a "Tough" Product Manager?

career courage innovation leadership Sep 01, 2021

As product managers, our days can be challenging. We have many different stakeholders to please.  We are iterating, learning, and influencing others. Our super powers come from the pure joy we have with innovating.  To do this, we need to have grit and be mentally strong. How can we be mentally strong? Let’s look at some things mentally strong product managers DO NOT DO.  

If we learn to avoid these six items, we will start innovating, reclaim our power as product managers, and start to accelerate our careers.

Don’t Spend Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. Mentally strong product managers do not spend time feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated by a colleague, customer, or leader. They are able to emerge from challenges and failure with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. Whether it is a meeting that went south or a bullying colleague who was promoted ahead of them, they are able to continue to move forward, with grace and confidence.

Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong product managers avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.  They ignore those who are demeaning. If they find their emotions starting to rise, they know how to settle themselves down and gain control.

Hate Change. Mentally strong product managers embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear," is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a product manager and bring out their best.  This is why mentally strong product managers are innovative and thrive in uncertainty.

People please. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong product managers strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation.  They bring their whole self to work each day, including understanding what does and does not need to be said at meetings.

Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong product manager accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest product managers are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong product managers are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.


Are you ready to accelerate career by becoming mentally strong and learning leadership skills? Are you ready to move beyond stress and burnout as a product manager?  Just book a call here and let’s talk.


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