January 11, 2023
Product Management

10 Personality traits of Successful Product Managers

In searching for product managers, companies often put much emphasis on technical skills. Yes, they are needed to some extent, but simply having technical skill not define a great product manager. Being a problem solver, having a business vision, being a lifetime experimenter and learner, and being able to align stakeholders with that vision and the steps to accomplish it are the foundation for successful product management.

The role of a product manager is to bring a product to market that meets the customers’ needs and achieves the desired business goals. To be successful, product managers need to have certain personality traits. Here, we have compiled a list of ten key personality traits of successful product managers:

  1. Passionate about solving customer problems and product growth: Great product managers are passionate about solving customer problems and growing their products. This passion drives them to motivate and excite stakeholders to execute the product vision and roadmap.

  2. Great communicators: Successful product managers know their audiences (both internal and external to the company) and speak their languages. They "translate" the vision, roadmaps, and product requirements into technical, executive, business, sales, and customer "languages" and ensure everyone understands their role and what they need to deliver the expected results.

  3. Natural leaders: Product managers are natural leaders who inspire and motivate those around them. Product managers sit at the intersection of strategy and execution. They translate the product vision into clearly-articulated tactical steps to deliver that vision and partner with customers, engineering, marketing, sales, executives, and other stakeholders to solve customer problems and deliver measurable results for the customers and the business.

  4. Strategic thinkers: Strategic thinking is another key trait of successful product managers. They can think ahead and anticipate potential problems or obstacles that may arise, as well as develop plans for how to overcome them.

  5. Analytical and data-driven mindset: Product managers need to be analytical to make data-driven, unemotional decisions about their products. They need to understand complex data sets and use them to inform their decision-making process.

  6. Flexible: Product managers need to be able to adapt their plans based on new information or changes in the market landscape. This flexibility enablesthem to always be one step ahead of the competition.

  7. Experimenters: Successful product managers constantly experiment with new ideas and ways of doing things. They are always looking for new ways to improve their products and deliver value to their customers. Able to learn from the experiments and use the learnings to improve the product and the strategy.

  8. Negotiators: Product managers often do not "own" the resources or funding required to build the product; they must give and take with other functions to get them When negotiating with the stakeholders, customers, and the executive team, it becomes essential to define common objectives and goals.

  9. Decision makers: Building consensus is important, but sometimes impossible. Therefore, product managers should be comfortable making decisions even if they are controversial or generate pushback.

  10. Results-oriented: Without results, nothing else matters. Product Managers must always maintain a focus on the goal and what it will take to reach it.

As you can see, being a good product manager may include, but is far beyond having technical skill or domain knowledge. Product managers must have business acumen, interpersonal skill, sound thinking, and a commitment to producing results; it will take all of these abilities to get a product over the finish line.

Juan Illidge is the Director of Volunteer Staffing at the Boston Product Management Association. Juan has forged demonstrable product success for startups to large multinationals across multiple industries like lead intelligence, sales enga