From the numerous books I have read, these are the principles that could make up a Product Leader
Windows and Mirrors Principle
A good Product Leader gives credit to the team when things go right. Literally speaking, they look out of the window and point to the team standing below giving them all the credit for the success of the product.
And when things go wrong…
The look into the mirror and take responsibility for the situation. Not just take responsibility for the situation, but also take charge and respond (rather than react) in a calm collected manner to learn and come out wiser and better from that situation.
I will Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way Principle
I will Lead. Product Leaders don’t shy away from difficult situations. Maybe the Product that your team shipped, had some quality issues. A Product leader takes charge and decides on the next best action to take, the right thing to do in such a situation. In other situations, a Product Leader sets the vision and shows the direction in which the Business or Product goes and then gives the team the autonomy to decide ‘how’ they are going to accomplish that vision.
I will Follow. To become a good leader, one probably could also be a good follower. A leader need not have all the answers and can display humility and admit they don’t know everything and are hear to listen and learn from others in the team.
I will Get Out of the way. Product Leaders allow Product Teams make their own decisions. They set the vision and provide clarity on the direction in which the Business needs to go and then get out of the way. The provide sufficient autonomy for teams to decide how to pursue that vision. Alternatively they may not have much to contribute in certain initiatives and rather than be a roadblock by being egoistic and trying everything to stop that initiative from being a reality, they get out of the way.
Whom can I elevate today? Principle
Often newcomers are shy to express their opinions infront of Product Experts. Members are vulnerable. They feel like an Impostor. Members are likely to make decisions that are likely to result in learning outcomes rather than successful outcomes. Product Leaders are compassionate. They take time to talk to all members and make them feel comfortable and let them know its ok to feel vulnerable. They encourage them to learn and grow.
$10, $100, $1000, $10000, $1M, $10M, $100M Principle
Product Leaders ensure they aren’t the sole decision makers. They ensure they aren’t the bottlenecks. Product Leaders know whom and for precisely what to trust them upon. For example, they may say for any decision that is less than $1000, please don’t contact me. I trust you to make wise decisions on that.
Surface their Talents Principle
Product Leaders don’t just fill their team members with advice upon advice making them feel like empty cups that needs to be filled up. Instead they know that every team member has some unique talents that needs to be surfaced. They may be experts at some skills and at a beginner level at something else. Product Leaders know where to deploy people that best matches their skills and talents.
Invention versus Execution Principle
Product Leaders Identify the type of work their team does the most. Does your team spend most of their time inventing, creating new stuff? Or do they spend most of their time doing Execution work? Work that is mundane? Or are they always on Firefighting mode? When we invent something, we create something new. We grow. Good to get you and your team to focus on inventing new things rather than getting caught in constant firefighting mode.
- Naval Podcast:
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Montessori Principles
- Tim Ferris