16 April 2020  4 min read

Does the product manager's personality matters to product management?

Nails painted with different colors

Product manager personality influences many different aspects, including team motivation, drive in solving vast challenges and communication standards.

Digital product managers of the past focused on the timeline and delivery of the product. Those of today, they glue many functions that touch a product - design, prototyping, customer success, marketing, operations, growth hacking, and more. Certainly, I can call them CEOs.

Sometimes they are called digital experience managers. They wear many hats, use extensive knowledge, and orchestrate cross-functional teams, ensuring the product vision will become a reality.

Related: “What digital product manager needs to know about the future of AI”

But, the personality of PM. Let’s have a look:

Motivation = Drive and Active approach

Product managers need to discover a value proposition, which will amaze customers. Customers continuously ask themselves a question. Why should I buy this specific product or service? Why should I book with AirBnB, not with Wyndham? Also, why Samsung, not Apple?

WHY dominates the product management world. Product managers' ability to stay curious is critical. It drives the discovery process, which is essential in defining a compelling value proposition. Discovering the WHY is difficult without efficiency and caring. These product manager personality traits (under the Conscientiousness category) are critical in delivering a great product management job and building customer-centricity as a foundation of everything.

Extrovert or Introverts - it doesn't matter as long as information circulates

A product roadmap is like rails for the train. It makes the road clear, even when it requires changes and modifications. Courage, transparency, openness should shine. Product Manager can’t hide things as it is short term play.

Let's imagine you build a product, and all the squad believes that launching a photo recognition feature is what customers want. Suddenly, the customer services department calls for a better search listing. The product manager decides to pick up this before photo recognition. It is wrong. She needs to discuss the change with the team and communicate the reasoning before changing the roadmap. This is a challenge and a problematic play. Shifting people, who are aligned and believe in one feature, to building the different one first, is hard. Successful product manager personality beams with calm, courage and compassion.

Ball catcher is better than the groin - product manager personality in action

The ability to focus and de-focus is essential as working on a product is more like constantly adjusting than pushing at all costs. Product managers are rather goalkeepers then snipers. They need to consider different calls from different people, regularly. Customers expect something, and stakeholders are talking about ROI, the team wants different task handling software. PMs can't ignore that by sitting silently like Indians Chief. They need to catch balls, look at them, evaluate and drop what needs to be dropped. A sense of security and self-confidence helps to tackle the challenge without stressing too much.

Two ears and one month

If PM is friendly and knows how to listen, she increases her chances for the home run. Why? It is simple. You will drive further on sugar candy than on a bar of bitter chocolate. A person who listens, analyses, and then talk makes fewer mistakes in building relationships.

Don't worry if your natural YOU is different. Don't change it. Just be aware of what is expected in the PM world and get the skills. Always be yourself, because who you are shouts louder than what you say.

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