The quiet nerd? 5 product manager qualities to ramp up your success

Good product management requires more than just technical qualifications. Soft skills are also – if not especially – a must for success. Read on to find out which 5 product manager qualities matter the most.

Learn here which product manager qualities really count.
Image: © Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock

Key qualities of product managers at a glance

Planning, managing, and monitoring products to be brought to market – these are some of a product manager’s daily tasks. Collecting and interpreting data is thus essential. However, that doesn’t simply mean gathering and understanding information; product managers should also have a talent for using this information. What does a product manager need in order to make sound decisions and apply data in a targeted and effective way? The answer: soft skills. The following qualities are particularly important for product managers:

#1 Demonstrating empathy with employees and users

Product managers are decision makers – and, as such, should be able to lead and motivate employees. Interpersonal skills and empathy are therefore important qualities for every product manager. Not only that, though; emotional intelligence also pays off with regard to the users of the products to be developed.

As a product manager, putting yourself in the user’s shoes is an important step to offering an even better experience going forward. When further developing products, you will ultimately generate a much better response from consumers if you focus on benefiting users rather than just on making internal processes as efficient as possible.

#2 Keeping your eyes on the goal

Product managers with excellent analytical capabilities have a good feel for what data is relevant for them to make decisions. However, to ensure that their decisions also translate into profits, a clear goal or overarching metric needs to be defined.

When product managers are able to see the whole picture and set a fixed goal, they benefit not only themselves, but also the entire team.

After all, a fixed goal makes it possible to measure progress and success in the long term and improve internal approaches and processes.

#3 Having the determination to think outside the box

If you want to be successful in product management, you have to be determined to continuously hone your professional qualifications. Good product managers are prepared to take the time to understand the data available to them, experiment with it, and draw fresh conclusions. The determination underlying this contributes enormously to the ongoing optimization of product monitoring and development, and therefore should always be on every list of relevant product manager qualities.

#4 Thinking strategically with a dash of courage

An in-depth understanding of existing data is only useful if strategic decisions are subsequently derived from it. For this reason, it is crucial for product managers to bring strategic thinking to the table. Product managers who can consider problems from different angles are able to identify innovative ideas and approaches that others overlook. When integrated into a suitable strategy, these kinds of innovations can drive a company forward. What’s more, implementing new strategies means having the courage to make the necessary decisions and assuming responsibility for them.

#5 Mastering the art of rhetoric

Last but not least: the fifth superpower of successful product managers is the ability to tell stories. Convincing storytellers have a vital tool in their arsenal to fill their audience with enthusiasm for new ideas, strategies, and decisions.

It’s especially important for product managers to tie everything together so that everyone on the team can follow the “plot” – including colleagues in departments that don’t require as much data expertise.

A structured and easy-to-understand presentation with a friendly touch saves time, is less stress-inducing, and of course gets a bigger round of applause than one that leaves the audience clueless.

Product managers need to have an extraordinary repertoire of qualities

Good product managers are much more than just data-savvy nerds. They are key decision makers who shouldn’t lack soft skills. Valuable product manager qualities therefore don’t just consist of technical know-how and skills pertaining to relevant departments, such as design, marketing, sales, and business development, but especially also social and rhetorical skills, determination, and a certain courage. So, product managers, what are you waiting for? Bring your soft skills up to scratch!

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