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Better understanding of Product Leadership

As a Product Leader, are you creating followers or more leaders around you? Are you telling your Product Managers what they should do, or are you giving them support and guidance?

There are many Leadership styles out there, but I would say that Tom Peters phrase summarizes very well which style I believe works best.

If you want to have strong Product Managers that deliver value and be a leader that people are happy to follow, trying to hire the ones that are stronger than you in at least some areas is a must.

Unfortunately, many Product Leaders are holding back on hiring or creating new leaders internally. They are usually afraid of being challenged or substituted by them. Many times even doing that unconsciously.

In the long run, not having a strong team will just overload the leader and more senior people. A classical example is decision-making centralization and most likely even redoing work, so the leaders can present the results to top management.

Below I put together some self-assessment questions to identify the behavior of creating followers instead of new leaders, check it out:

  • Am I giving guidance and direction, or am I telling my employees what to do?

  • Am I considered a sparing partner for discussions, or am I only defining the go / no go of each initiative?

  • Am I having candid 1on1 sessions on a regular basis, or am I doing only yearly performance reviews to check organization combo-boxes?

  • Am I allowing Product Managers to own their products, or am I the one defining everything for them (e.g. Product Vision, KPIs, OKRs, and even initiatives)?

  • Am I also learning from my team, or do I feel that I am always having to correct them?

If you are more on the left side of the answers, great! You are on an excellent path to creating more leaders. If you are more on the right side, then I would recommend you reconsider your ways of working.

What are your thoughts on the quote and Product Leadership?

Foto von Thomas Bonometti auf Unsplash


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