How Great Product Managers Keep Their Perspective

by drjim on August 20, 2008

Great Product Mangers can keep their perspective

Great Product Mangers can keep their perspective

There are a lot of Product Managers in the world, the question is what makes some of them great product managers? We’ve been talking about high-commitment, high-performance product (HCHP) product managers and they are truly the great ones. What makes these product mangers better than all of the rest is that they have found a way to keep their work in perspective and this is what makes all the difference. So what’s their secret?

The first secret to keeping perspective is that great product managers find a way to stay close with their teams while at the same time maintaining a distance. What this means is that everyone on the team feels as though they know the product manager and he/she knows them. At the same time, we all know that sometimes difficult staffing decisions need to be made and keeping a distance allows the great product managers to not be accused of playing favorites.

Secondly, great product managers actually have a life outside of work. No matter if it is just spending time with their families or throwing themselves into a hobby that they truly enjoy, they find a way to make sure that their job is not all that there is to life. This helps them to maintain a perspective about the job.

Finally, humor always helps. The great product managers are able to laugh at themselves and their situation. This ability can relieve tension that would otherwise spill over and poison workplace relationships. Additionally, when a product manager shows that he/she can laugh at themselves, then the entire team feels more relaxed around them and the team will function more smoothly.

Ultimately, a great product manager achieves that status not by WHAT they do, we all know what we are supposed to be doing, but rather HOW they do things. Great product mangers realize that the profession of product management is really a calling, not a science and it can only be done well by someone using their artistic talent, not their engineering skills.

What do you think? Are you able to keep perspective on your job or does it overwhelm you on occasion? Are you close enough with your product team or are you too close? Can you laugh at yourself and the things that you do or is this a skill that you are still working on? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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