Product managers can specialize in all sorts of disciplines. Some are better at hardware development while others are better at staying on budget. However, there are a number of traits that are easily identifiable in great product managers regardless of specialty.
Great product managers share great traits including confidence, compassion and curiosity. Here are the top traits of the top-performing product managers:
The personality of a product manager is just as important as their technical skills and professional abilities. They are leaders to product developers, collaborators with clients and liaisons to executives. As such, they must have high-quality soft skills. They must show empathy to the overworked developer and passion to the client, and send reassuring updates to the c-suite. All of this is impossible without an immense capacity for compassion.
Data-Oriented Product Managers
Product development isn’t just an emotional journey (even when emotions run high). The team relies on a data-oriented product manager to make informed decisions that lead to satisfactory outcomes.
While the best must show compassion for others, they also must hold themselves to a precise standard. To excel, they have to rely on objective evidence rather than just their emotional experience and “gut feelings” to carve a successful product path.
The best product managers are endlessly curious people who want to know why certain products work or particular strategies fail. They research obsessively and are always in the know of the latest trends.
Curious people generally make for good employees who are bound to get better and better over time. The best product managers are proud of their curiosity and use it as a point of reference. A curious product manager will identify problems before they even arise and establish a variety of management styles to see what works.
Confidence is an absolute necessity for a product manager to be considered the best. Confident product managers know their decisions are well-informed and will provide results in a positive way. They are confident people who provide a sense of security and assurance to every level of a development company.
The confidence that exudes from the best product managers is what allows them to be so effective in their roles. A confident manager enables employees to focus on their jobs and not worry about the plan ahead. Confidence brings out the best in a development team.
There’s no problem with hiring a talented product manager with only a few years of experience. In fact, it works out for many companies. However, one of the most common traits shared among the best is their tenure.
The top product managers almost always have a wealth of personal experience to draw from. As professionals, they have spent their lives working on important products, tweaking their product management methodology and learning from past mistakes.
The best product managers know that it takes a certain individual to pursue product management. Chief among them is the passion for the skill. The best of them are passionate and skilled individuals who use their acumen to help companies realize their vision. The worst are those who do it for a paycheck or as a hobby.
Top product managers are those who work their hardest to help a company realize its goal while creating a cohesive environment. They are people who want to know the answer; people who want to find solutions to all problems that arise in development; curious and confident people who use their personality traits to bring a vision to life.
Elite product managers use data and experience to come up with interpersonal strategies and management plans. This allows them to establish a cohesive base of operations while the development process continues at a steady pace. The best product managers have soft and hard skills to get the job done. And, they have the experience to push forward with success.