The Difference Between Successful and Unsuccessful Product Managers


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 12, 2023

3 min read


The Difference Between Successful and Unsuccessful Product Managers

Introduction: The Rare Advocate (INFJ) Personality

Product managers play a crucial role in determining what to create and develop within a company. Unlike CEOs, they may not have the authority to hire or fire employees, but they still hold responsibility for the product and the business, leading their teams with a sense of accountability.

In a similar vein, individuals with the Advocate (INFJ) personality type, as defined by the 16Personalities test, also leave a significant mark on the world. Advocates are known for their deep thoughtfulness, imagination, and strong personal values. They approach life with a quiet, principled version of humanism, always striving to do what is right and create a world where others do the same.

Advocates are driven by a desire to use their strengths, including creativity, imagination, and sensitivity, to uplift others and spread compassion. They see helping others as their purpose in life, and their focus on altruism outweighs any desire for personal gain. Creating solutions that can positively impact people's lives is what truly lights them up.

The Importance of Relationships and Self-Care

One common point between successful product managers and the Advocate personality type is the value they place on deep, authentic relationships. Both understand the importance of taking great care with other people's feelings and building connections. However, it is crucial for Advocates and product managers alike to remember the significance of reconnecting with themselves.

Advocates, in particular, need time alone to decompress, recharge, and process their thoughts and feelings. This self-care is essential for maintaining their well-being and allowing them to continue making a positive impact. Similarly, successful product managers must prioritize self-care to prevent burnout and maintain their effectiveness as leaders.

Navigating Conflict and Criticism

Another shared characteristic is the potential for stress in the face of conflict and criticism. Advocates, with their strong sense of justice and desire to fix inequities, may find themselves overwhelmed when confronted with unfairness. Similarly, product managers often face challenges in navigating conflicts within their teams or with stakeholders.

To overcome these stressful situations, both Advocates and product managers can benefit from developing effective communication skills and emotional intelligence. By actively listening and seeking to understand different perspectives, they can find common ground and build bridges to resolve conflicts. Additionally, learning to embrace constructive criticism and using it as an opportunity for growth can help both Advocates and product managers thrive in their respective roles.

Taking Action as a Product Manager and an Advocate

Now that we have explored the commonalities between successful product managers and the Advocate personality type, let's discuss three actionable pieces of advice that can apply to both:

  • 1. Embrace Collaboration: Both product managers and Advocates thrive in collaborative environments. By actively seeking input from others and fostering a team culture that values diverse perspectives, both can drive innovation and create meaningful change.
  • 2. Develop Decision-Making Skills: Product managers and Advocates are often faced with making important decisions. By honing their decision-making skills, both can navigate complex situations more effectively. This includes gathering relevant information, considering different viewpoints, and weighing the potential outcomes before making a well-informed choice.
  • 3. Cultivate Empathy: Empathy is a crucial skill for both successful product managers and Advocates. By putting themselves in others' shoes and understanding their needs, motivations, and challenges, both can create products and initiatives that truly address the users' and society's needs.


In conclusion, the success of a product manager and the impact of an Advocate personality hinge on similar factors. Both require a deep sense of purpose and a commitment to doing what is right. By valuing authentic relationships, practicing self-care, navigating conflicts effectively, and taking actionable steps, both can drive positive change and leave a lasting mark on the world. Whether you are a product manager or an Advocate, remember to embrace collaboration, develop decision-making skills, and cultivate empathy to excel in your role and make a meaningful difference.

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