Product Leadership: Build ConnectionSep 01, 2021
Toxic leadership. Toxic colleagues. It is the elephant in the room of product management. I speak to product managers every day who are struggling with not being seen, feeling undervalued, and having no voice.
It does not need to be that way
I challenge you to be the leader others want to follow by building CONNECTION. To be the leader who is positive and inspired and drives innovation. Even if you are product manager without the formal leadership title, you have the ability to lead your teams with inspiration.
If you can master the art of building connection with your colleagues and leaders, you will be seen as a leader, your career will grow, and you step into product strategy (versus product execution).
When teams feel connected…
- Meetings are collaborative
- Decisions can be questioned
- Disagreements do not get personal
- Work no longer feels like work
- Everyone feels valued and appreciated
How can you create this sense of connection with your teams?
Get ready for it…by being vulnerable.
In product management, vulnerability shows up in the form of being open to potential criticism, making a mistake, or allowing your approach to be questioned. When you demonstrate vulnerability, trust increases, people will be comfortable iterating and coming up with those innovative ideas.
What small steps can you take to start to create this culture of connection through vulnerability in the world of product management?
Admit that you do not know everything (and be okay with it)
If you are not an expert on a topic – or even if you are – seek input from your team members. Be open about the fact that you do not know everything and ask your teammates to support you. For example, ask the customer success team for their input on the product vision.
Recognize good work
Saying both thank you and giving public recognition to your team for a job well done is a fabulous way to show vulnerability. Instead of taking the credit yourself for a successful product, you are turning the attention away from yourself and to the team.
Give and request feedback.
Connect with your team members and ask for their feedback on some aspect of your performance – that could be your leadership style, your support as a team member, or your product management skills.
When you ask for a team member’s input, be receptive, and listen with your full attention. Make sure that your teammates know their feedback has been heard.
Try something new.
When we step outside of our comfort zone, we automatically put ourselves in a vulnerable position. It can be scary, exciting, and fulfilling all at the same time.
Identify a new skill or technology you would like to learn. Talk to your teammates about your process as well as the successes and challenges you face.
Admit to mistakes.
We can all likely think of a situation that has come up in our workday when we could have handled something differently to achieve a better outcome.
Be upfront with your team about these mistakes you have made to show vulnerability and establish trust. They will respect you and likely learn something from your experience as well.
As part of my Inspired Product Leader Programs, we spend time working through how to build connection with your product and cross-functional teams. When you can build this sense of connection, people will see you as a leader and your career will accelerate. You will be given the top products to work on along with getting promoted and a seat at the strategy table.
If you are ready to learn how to LEAD in the world of product management and build connection with your team, schedule a complimentary breakthrough session. We’ll build a strategy to enable you to stand in your power and start to LEAD.