5 Emotional Intelligence Tips to become a Better Product Manager

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Image Source: Bounteous.com

Having worked as a product manager in the startup scene for the past few years, I didn’t always have the luxury of choosing my team, either for budget reasons or because a team was already in place.

In early 2016, I launched Corl and had to build my all-star team. A team I knew I will be spending most of my time with over the next few years. While my co-founder was solely focused on hard skills (i.e. technical expertise), I was looking for the following in a hire: Patient, Empathetic, Hard Worker, Flexible, Thoughtful, Self-Learner, etc. — what we call soft skills.

Welcome to the “I want to work with people I like but also help me get sh*t done” club.

Now imagine also dealing with product requests from business partners or clients that you would consider as stupid or obvious. You will have to channel your inner peace and recognize that your audience might not be as smart as you.

If there is one profession where soft skills are extremely important, it’s Product Management.

As a PM, you have to lead, inspire, and motivate people on your team. People who can make or break your product. With a global economy, you will deal with folks from different backgrounds, cultures, and personalities — ranging from introvert developers, extrovert salespeople, young and goal-driven marketers, the creative designers, and most importantly your demanding customers.

Enter Emotional Intelligence (EI), the best skill to better understand people’s behavior.

So, What the F*** is Emotional Intelligence 🤔?

I am pretty sure that Psychology Today is a legit source.

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Image Source: RobynShort.com

So, how does EI make you a better PM?

1. Keep your Lizard Brain in check!

2. Fall in love with the Problem, Not the Solution

Listen to your Users. They’re the ones using your product!

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Source: LeanStack.com

3. Speak your Team’s Language

How does your language reflect the company culture? Is your language open or closed? Does your language empower your team and generate possibilities?

As a PM, you have to make an effort to understand your team’s different personalities, passions, emotions, and what gets them going. This can be accomplished by getting closer to your team. Take them out for lunch, grab a coffee or a drink, and get to know them.

Actively listen, don’t judge, put your ego aside, and pick up on their body language and gestures. In time, you will learn to speak their language.

4. Perfectionism... Fuhgeddaboudit!

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Your team and colleagues will always give you direct feedback. Negative feedback is natural and it’s the only way we can grow and sharpen our skills. Avoid getting stuck on nitty-gritty product features that are not important. There is no right or wrong in PM’ing. If your end-user is happy and satisfied, then you’ve done your job 💪.

5. Get rid of toxic people!

There is no secret recipe for being a great PM. Every new experience will teach you how to navigate future situations in a better way and how to handle specific emotions and management styles better.

Like this post? Follow me here, share it on your social media, and give this post a clap. Stay tuned for more product management posts.

Written by

FinTech Entrepreneur. VP of Product ​at Railz.ai​. Co-Founder & Former CEO ​at Corl​.io. Opinions are my own.

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