Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


An Effective Leader Leads by Influence, not Authority

Guest Post by Ken Sandy

The earliest mistakes you make in your career are often the most memorable and where you learn the most. In one of my first product management roles, I was delighted when a C-level executive tasked me to lead an important and urgent project and assemble a team for it.

I called a meeting together with people from the marketing, engineering, and design teams. I gave what I thought was a rousing speech, in which I asked that they drop whatever they were doing and commit themselves to this new project — it was of great importance to the c-suite, so it should be our top priority.


The 3 C’s for success

Success is a clear, yet complex word that means different things for different people. The measurements vary, the approaches to achieving change and the commitment to achieving fluctuate over time.

In recent study and pondering, three words came to mind that alliterate basic, core actions that will increase success and lead us to better places in our careers and our lives.

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Guest Post: Three Ways to Increase Trust and Eliminate Drama

By Marlene Chism

You ask your employees to engage, but they sit there with their arms crossed.  You solicit ideas, but no one comes forward. No one seems to know exactly what is expected and everyone seems to pass the buck.  If you see any of these drama indicators, it’s likely that there is a trust issue in your workplace.

Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust says in one of his articles, ‘Think about it this way: When trust is low, in a company or in a relationship, it places a hidden “tax” on every transaction: every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing speed down and sending costs up. My experience is that significant distrust doubles the cost of doing business and triples the time it takes to get things done.’

Covey says the two components of trust are character and credibility. I agree and would like to add that where there is a lack of trust, there is drama, and where there is drama, there is always a lack of clarity. The lack of clarity contributing to the trust issues in your organization may be as simple as looking at your processes. Here are three ways to increase trust and eliminate drama by building better processes.

Create an Employee Handbook
In my book, Stop Workplace Drama I talk about the one component always present in all kinds of drama and that is a lack of clarity. Where there is no employee handbook, there will be a lot of confusion. Besides the mission statement, there is no other communication tool more important than the employee handbook. The employee handbook is the one place everyone can go when there is a question regarding any area related to employment with the company including expectations, safety requirements, dress code, probation period, laws, compensation and more.

Develop Written Job Descriptions
If you are delivering feedback to your employees without setting them up for success, you will create a barrier to effective performance and will decrease the trust between boss and employee. No one likes to be judged for their performance if they are not clear on how to make the grade. One way to increase job performance is to describe exactly what areas of responsibility and tasks are to be performed on any particular job. Without a job description you are inviting an excuse, “that’s not my job.”  With a job description there’s no question about what is expected and what skills are required to get the job done. Job descriptions can change over time, so make sure you keep yours updated by having the employees themselves add to the job descriptions or alter them as their duties evolve and change.

Teach Standard Operating Procedures
Each job has many tasks that work together to effectively produce a product or a service that contributes to the overall goals of the company. A standard operating procedure often referred as SOP is a documented step-by-step process of how the job is done most efficiently to avoid defects, or safety hazards or to produce the highest quality product. A good standard operating procedure for each job helps to ensure consistency. You take the guesswork out of performance and thus increase trust when you have the appropriate SOP’s in place.

Ready to Stop Workplace Drama?  Marlene Chism, author of Stop Workplace Drama, invites you to learn more about her new book and Stop Your Drama Methodology, eight principles to help leaders gain clarity and reduce workplace drama.

The Product Management Perspective: Too often drama creeps in to product initiatives and makes it more difficult to deliver on time. Product managers who build relationships of trust will keep the drama at bay and the product initiatives moving forward in the right direction.