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Keeping Your Job and Keeping Your People

Nurturing the Work Environment

My goal with this post is to facilitate the construction of a stronger bridge between the two groups: product managers and their managers so that a more rewarding work environment can be nurtured. My thoughts on this began because I was recently reading an article that talked about executives (and this includes product management leaders) and how they articulate their success based on their ability to produce great business results.

I also noted that some leaders cited high employee retention rates as a proof point to demonstrate how they promote great employee engagement and productivity. This isn’t necessarily what I see.

In many firms I work with, employees aren’t as engaged as leaders think. Whether it’s because they’re stretched thin or have other restrictions, product management leaders should take notice. On the other hand, product managers can’t be all things to all people. They need to carefully focus on doing more of the right things right, and less of the wrong things right.

What this all boils down to is this: how to create a great working environment, so that managers can support their product managers… and so that product managers do what’s needed to fulfill their goals and create successful products. In the end, we’re all responsible to create a trusting culture that leads to high performing, successful products.

Here are some ideas for you to consider. While not a comprehensive list, you’ll certainly learn more from some of my Product Management booksour workshopspodcasts, and tools.

Managers of Product Managers

Your job is to engage your employees and provide a fertile ground for their development and to pave the pathway to success. It may be a good idea to assess how you’re doing. As a “product,” you have an audience whose needs must be fulfilled. Some firms use a 360-degree feedback tool. Or, you can just do a one-on-one with an employee to ask hard questions about you as a boss and invite a frank discussion. I have found these to be quite inspirational. In my corporate life, I also did skip-level meetings, which means I met with the employees of my direct reports.

Other things to think about doing:

  • Help people solve problems
  • Facilitate inter-departmental communication
  • Cultivate relationships that strengthen the culture of your group
  • Educate and train your product managers based on your knowledge and experience

For Product Managers

Remember, you’re the person who’s responsible for the results of the product’s business. But you’re also responsible to help your boss to be successful. You know that you have to focus on influencing others, moving things along, and being the product expert.

However, you can earn greater levels of empowerment if you’re able to:

  • Establish a great rapport with your boss
  • Find mentors to help and guide you
  • Take the initiative to solve problems
  • Nurture relationships to establish greater levels of trust

I truly hope that these simple ideas ignite further thoughts and ideas on how you can contribute to the workplace that continues to grow and evolve. Wanting and/or needing to put a career development strategy in place? Check out my template to guide you and your team through developing career paths.

Other Resources:

  • Don’t forget to sign up for one of our upcoming 2019 Product Management Workshops! View the Schedule>>
  • New Episodes of our Managing Product Management Podcast! Listen Here >>
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