It’s hugely important to manage your personal brand as a product manager. Because… basically… your personal brand is everything. Even if you might not realise it.
And building it starts with attitude and drive, at least according to Michael Youmans, then Senior Product Manager at Mimecast, now Director of Product Management at Vertical Group Inc. Michael’s a passionate and experienced product leader, and his presentation at PLA Fest focused on looking inwards and building your personal brand.
Of course if you missed his talk, you can grab yourself a membership plan to catch up, but he’s also shared his own thoughts right here to inspire you to overcome emotional responses and learn to fuel your personal brand in product...
Check it out👇
“Don’t let negative people keep you from seeing the positive still around”
– Some genius
It's funny, isn't it? When you pour your heart out about a particular subject, you realize how many mistakes you've actually made along the way. I talked about personal brand before in another article, covering things like the truth and doubling effort. I didn't talk about what happens when you start to grow and see the "toxic" people around you. We are human beings and we make mistakes. Yep, that's the truth! It's an illusion to think that we all navigate the same path in life, even if our circumstances are the same.
Being a product manager is a heavy responsibility, especially since it's now a recognized profession needed in every organization. While you have to deal with discovery and delivery, you also have to navigate through the human emotions around you. Let's talk about that for a second…
I'm not a saint by any means. I have made my share of mistakes; some of them have cost friendships even. However, through all of my mistakes, I have learned I can be a better person. The people around us deserve that same chance that we were given (most of the time). Why do I say that? You want to see them grow and make that one-eighty back to success town. Okay, now how does this all tie into what I was rambling about in the first paragraph? When you set a positive leadership example, things generally turn out successful for us.
I remember being in a meeting once where there was a heated argument about a specific design that quite a few people had disagreements with. We certainly aren't going to name names, but a couple of them were not such friendly individuals. When I found some room to open up, I immediately broke down the problem I knew we were trying to solve.
Knowing that they had specific techniques on approaching customers, which I did actually like, I offered up those same options to how we can get a little solved now. And that they could work with five of our customers to see where the pain points were to get us to a mature state. I remember one of my colleagues next to me, shocked with his mouth wide open after everyone had left. They were confused why I agreed with the people they were just arguing with, plus offering the opportunity up them to do some more reconnaissance work.
It's simple, really, I want to be someone with whom others are comfortable working with. I don't want to stampede, fail to listen, act arrogant, or any of those other negative traits we sometimes harbor. Even though I know some people can be toxic, I have to navigate with or around them. You can still be successful and build success in others, even with these folks around you.
Hell, you might even make them see something in you that they want. Next thing you know, you're chatting with them about some of the mistakes you have made in the past that they can relate to. However, sometimes you definitely have to get the hell out of there if you feel you're at a stage in your life that's very different from those around you. You're a valuable individual who wants to do your best work. You want to grow and be a part of an EPIC product-led company strategy. I'm here to tell you, you deserve that.
In closing, remember that there are many of us out there with shared experiences in what you may be going through. Some parts of product management can be highly stressful (failed launch dates, anyone?).
How you approach a situation working with someone, even if they're toxic, is vital. You have a focus and a personal power within you. You can shine in a world of complaints by resisting the temptation. Arguments go nowhere, and we need individuals like you to steer us back to success, where we all belong.
How are you building your personal brand in product? Let us know.
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