Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Motivating and influencing your teams


You’ve nailed the vision, and built the foundation of trust, now you need to motivate your teams. The success of your product depends on the work they (engineering, UX/design, marketing, sales, etc.) do. In nearly all cases, the individuals on whom you depend for this success do not report to you. That’s why motivating and influencing become some of the most important things you do as a product manager.

What are the key elements to motivating and influencing your teams?


Motivating and influencing others is not easy. At the end of the day, you cannot force anyone to do what you want them to do or act how you’d like them to act. And they might think you have ulterior motives. The most effective way for you to reach them and persuade them to do what they need to do—for the success of your products—is to influence them in a positive manner.

How do you build influence? How do you motivate? In some ways these objectives seem vague. They may not feel like something you can grasp or reach. It may seem like the core values of businesses, especially technology focused companies, are tied to more tangible activities. You may be thinking…why would I, the product manager, spend my time cheerleading? In reality, motivating and influencing are NOT cheerleading.

In the role of product manager, you gain and compile significant information about market problems, strategy, and the future outlook of your company’s most valuable assets. You can use these and other key information you gather to keep team members in the loop and get them excited about the work they are doing. Here are three actions you can take to influence your teams:

  • Instill confidence, optimism and energy: Talk up your products. Talk about the market the products service. Help them understand how customers use the products and why they’re valuable. Get excited about the work you and the team are doing, let them see it in your face and in your actions.
  • Share the vision and plan: Take time to share the product vision with all the team members you work with. Answer questions and let them see into the future of your products.
  • Bring energy to every aspect of your work: Use your energy to build enthusiasm among team members. Let them see that energy in everything you do.

To reiterate, this is NOT about being a cheerleader, but instead it’s about leading out, leading your teams. Taking these steps will help you gain the confidence and trust of the team members you work with, and it will endear them to you in ways that do not come without making the effort.

Questions: Who’s had the most influence in your career? What secrets do you have for motivating others? Please leave a comment in the space below.

The Product Management Perspective: Motivating and influencing your teams are the next of five key factors of a methodology I have developed to create successful product teams. Stay with me as I roll out the remainder of the factors in ensuing articles featured on Lead on Purpose.

4 thoughts on “Motivating and influencing your teams

  1. Pingback: Developing team member skills | Lead on Purpose

  2. Thanks for this interesting blog

  3. Pingback: Changing the game with decisive action | Lead on Purpose

  4. Pingback: An Effective Leader Leads by Influence, not Authority | Lead on Purpose

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