Mastering the Art of Gaining Respect and Finding Purpose as a Product Manager

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Jun 30, 20233 min read

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Mastering the Art of Gaining Respect and Finding Purpose as a Product Manager

Introduction:

As a product manager, earning respect from your team and colleagues is crucial for success. In addition, finding purpose in your work can greatly impact your overall satisfaction and productivity. In this article, we will explore practical ways to achieve both respect and purpose in your role as a product manager.

Embracing the Power of Knowledge:

One effective way to earn respect as a product manager is by continuously expanding your knowledge and expertise. While it is impossible to know everything about every domain, it is important to acknowledge your limitations and seek opportunities for growth. By engaging in conversations with engineers or team members who possess specialized knowledge, you can demonstrate a willingness to learn and understand their perspectives. Additionally, by requesting non-technical summaries of key challenges and takeaways, you can bridge the gap between technical and non-technical stakeholders, earning their respect and fostering effective collaboration.

Leveraging a Fresh Perspective:

Starting a new product management role without prior experience in a specific domain can actually be advantageous. Without pre-existing notions of how the industry "should" behave, you can approach problem-solving with a fresh perspective. This lack of knowledge can become your strategic advantage, allowing you to challenge norms, question assumptions, and propose innovative solutions. Embrace your unique position and leverage it to gain respect by showcasing your ability to think outside the box and drive positive change within the organization.

Balancing Agreement and Assertiveness:

As a product manager, you will often find yourself in situations that require both agreeability and assertiveness. While being open to different opinions and patient during strategy discussions is important, there are times when you must apply pressure and assert yourself. Demonstrating the ability to navigate these dynamics effectively is a key aspect of earning respect. One example of a company that values assertiveness is Shopify, which promotes the principle of "Get Shit Done" (GSD). By embracing this mindset, you can showcase your determination and drive, garnering respect from your team and stakeholders.

Fostering a Purposeful Work Ethic:

Finding purpose in your work is essential for long-term satisfaction and fulfillment as a product manager. Many individuals believe that achieving this requires finding the perfect job or pursuing better pay, but the real challenge lies in learning to feel comfortable being lost. Embrace the journey of exploring different domains, projects, and challenges, understanding that it is through these experiences that you will uncover your true purpose. By embracing the unknown and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, you can cultivate a purposeful work ethic that will not only earn you respect but also bring meaning to your professional endeavors.

Actionable Advice:

1. Continuously invest in expanding your knowledge by seeking opportunities to learn from specialized experts in your organization. Embrace a growth mindset and never stop seeking new insights and perspectives.

2. Strike a balance between agreeability and assertiveness. Recognize when it is necessary to apply pressure and assert yourself, while also valuing collaboration and open-mindedness during strategy discussions.

3. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and finding purpose in your work. Instead of solely focusing on external factors such as job titles or pay, explore different domains and challenges to uncover your true passion and purpose as a product manager.

Conclusion:

Earning respect as a product manager requires a combination of knowledge, openness, assertiveness, and purpose. By continuously expanding your expertise, leveraging a fresh perspective, balancing agreement and assertiveness, and fostering a purposeful work ethic, you can establish yourself as a respected leader in your field. Remember, respect is not given, but rather earned through consistent dedication and a genuine commitment to personal and professional growth.

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