Practical Ways to Earn Respect as a Product Manager - Department of Product

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Mar 14, 2024

3 min read


Practical Ways to Earn Respect as a Product Manager - Department of Product

In the fast-paced world of product management, earning respect from your team and stakeholders is crucial for success. As a product manager, you are responsible for leading cross-functional teams, making strategic decisions, and driving the development of successful products. To gain the respect and trust of your colleagues, there are several practical ways you can approach your role.

One effective strategy is to embrace your role as a learner. When faced with discussions beyond your current knowledge, it is important to acknowledge your limitations but also express a willingness to learn. By doing so, you create an environment where your team feels comfortable sharing their expertise without feeling undermined. This approach also allows you to gather valuable insights and perspectives that can contribute to better decision-making.

Starting a new product management role with no prior experience in a particular domain can actually be an advantage. Without pre-existing notions of how the industry "should" behave, you have the freedom to think outside the box and bring fresh ideas to the table. Embrace this lack of knowledge and use it to your strategic advantage. Be open-minded and willing to challenge the status quo, as this can lead to innovative solutions and earn the respect of your colleagues.

Another way to earn respect as a product manager is to find the balance between being agreeable and assertive. There will be times when you need to be patient and open to different opinions when deciding on strategy or what to build next. However, there will also be moments when you need to apply pressure and assert yourself. Shopify's product principle of "Get Shit Done" exemplifies this approach. By being proactive, taking ownership of your projects, and driving them forward, you demonstrate your commitment to delivering results and earning the respect of your team.

In the complex world of startups and product development, navigating the "idea maze" is a common challenge. When starting out, it may seem impossible to completely map out the maze and determine the best path forward. However, there are several strategies you can employ to make the process more manageable.

First, look to history for guidance. Most good ideas have been tried before, and learning from previous attempts can provide valuable insights. By understanding what worked and what went wrong in similar ventures, you can avoid making the same mistakes and increase your chances of success.

Analogies can also be a powerful tool in building your idea maze. By comparing your business to similar ones, you can draw parallels and learn from their experiences. This can help you identify potential pitfalls and develop strategies to overcome them.

Furthermore, theories developed from decades of historical data on tech startups can provide guidance in navigating the idea maze. By studying these theories, you can gain a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to success and failure in the industry. This knowledge can inform your decision-making process and increase your chances of making the right choices.

Finally, direct experience is invaluable in figuring out the maze. Many successful startup founders have gained their insights through hands-on experience, often in a work setting. By immersing yourself in the industry, working on projects, and learning from both successes and failures, you can develop a solid understanding of the idea maze and make informed decisions.

In conclusion, earning respect as a product manager requires a combination of strategic approaches and a willingness to learn and adapt. Embrace your role as a learner, leverage your lack of domain knowledge to your advantage, and find the balance between being agreeable and assertive. Additionally, navigate the idea maze by learning from history, utilizing analogies and theories, and gaining direct experience. By implementing these actionable strategies, you can earn the respect of your team and stakeholders, and drive the success of your products.

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