I’ve read lots of different posts and articles about how to be a good Product Manager or a leader and only a few of them talk about those incorrect behaviors, and sadly very common.
This five points helped me a lot during my first year as a Product Manager:
1) Don’t lose your soul:
I’ve seen this several times, designers who suddenly can’t open a mock or developers who can’t write a line of code. Being a manager means that you serve your team, their success is your success. it’s your job (along with many other things) to help your team as much as you can, and that means to code, design, or perform social media tasks.
If you had other profession before being Product Manager, don’t let it get buried. Never stop improving what you were doing before. That expertise is going to help in many different situations and decisions.
And of course, don’t confuse “helping” with “delegating”.
2) Learn to delegate:
It’s obvious you don’t have all the answers, so don’t act like if you do. Some people may think having the word “manager” associated to their position means they are smarter or above the rest of the team, that’s wrong (they are not). If you are a Product Manager, you are the voice, the supporter and the problem solver of your team. They are the expert on what they do.
Mark Zuckerberg said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:
“I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person”
You should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, always. Trust them, listen their opinions and let them do their job. That is going to make your team the best, and that is going to make YOU the best.
3) Never (ever) micromanage:
You are a manager, not a Primary School teacher. There is no need for updates every second or feeling frustrated because you would have done things in a different way. If you don’t trust your team members, maybe you should work with different people (or maybe they need another manager).
4) Be invisible:
Lots of managers love the recognition and the medals on the chest, well, we all do at certain point, but that shouldn’t be the main purpose of your job. Your mission is to ship and make better products, work for the success of your company. Your personal success will come along with it.
If you want to be a star, you should be doing something different.
5) Be passionate
Find your challenge, everyone who becomes Product Manager has specifics reasons, find yours. The worst thing for you and your team is to work without passion, without energy, the fastest road to failure is when you don’t care about success.
Be Social: You are not the enemy or the bad guy just because you are a manager (also you don’t need to be an asshole to be great), the key is to find the balance between management and companionship (and I can tell you, in long-term, it works)