Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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10 tips for new leaders

Leading a new team comes with challenges. You have a group of people who have grown accustomed to doing things a certain way. They may or may not have liked their departing manager. You may or may not have worked with them or know them at all.

Regardless of the situation, you have a great opportunity in front of you. Here are 10 tips to help you become a competent leader.

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Why successful plans include a learning component

We’re almost done with the first month of 2017. Most statistics I’ve read about people who set new year’s resolutions show that more than half have already given up by this point in the year (in less than one month). Hopefully you’re not one them.

One of my perennial goals is increasing learning and applying what I learn to business and life. For years, learning has been a key component of every plan.

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How to accelerate your journey to success

One of the key objectives of Lead on Purpose is to provide ideas and motivation to my readers to help you improve your success, regardless of your area(s) of focus. When I find things that help, I share them.

What do highly successful people do differently than others? They talk, think and approach challenges differently. They think about money differently. They are motivated in ways that are not common or natural to most people.

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The five practices of leading for results

Guest post by Joan Bragar, EdD

“Whatever you can do, or believe you can, begin it. Boldness has genius power and magic in it!
–Attributed to Goethe in William Hutchinson Murray,
The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Is there something you care deeply about accomplishing? Will you need to lead others to achieve this outcome? Whether or not you currently think of yourself as a leader, would you benefit from learning how to influence others to collaborate in achieving the results you have envisioned?

Himalayas

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3 Steps to Reach for Your Next Milestone

Guest post by Bob Pritchett, President/CEO of Faithlife Corporation

 Has anyone ever told you that you have permission to do something incredible? You can have the life you’ve always wanted. And, you can start right now.

If you’re ready to reach for your next milestone, follow these three simple steps to keep moving forward. Continue reading


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Leadership and listening

Positive and effective communication starts with listening. When you listen first and ask questions second, you come away with a much better understanding of what the other person wanted you to know. If you need to communicate something to another person, state it quickly and then listen to their response. When you participate in meetings, listen to what the others have to say. Fight the impulse to talk; listen attentively and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.

Recently I had an eye-opening experience with learning by listening. My son invited me to attend a session with renowned sports performance enhancement coach Dr. Craig Manning. The only stipulation from my son was…”you have to set back and listen, and not make any comments.” [Those who know me well know I like to chime in and share my wisdom, so this would be a challenge for me.]

I accepted. I went to the session and for a full hour I sat still and listened. It was an amazing experience. Even though Dr. Manning was teaching my son, I learned some remarkable things about myself. I discovered actions I can take to improve my life and my work. All of this came because I listened (not only to Dr. Manning, but also to my son).

If you want to be happier, work more effectively, or improve your leadership, take the time to listen. Don’t just hear what people say, pause and reflect on what they really mean. Ask questions that will help you to better understand what the other person is saying. Listen, and become a better leader.


The Product Management Perspective: You work with a lot of different people, most of whom have opinions about your product. A well-known mantra in product management is “Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” While I agree the gist of this statement, I find value in listening to others’ opinions. The act of listening to others brings knowledge and enlightenment to us. Even if we end up doing something totally different from what the other person suggested, we all benefit from listening and considering alternatives.


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Three characteristics of great leaders

If you want to be a great leader, you have to be a great follower. All the great leaders I have studied talk about the people who encouraged and inspired them to do great things. In almost every case, it wasn’t just one person who inspired them; it was a number of people. You will find some level of the following three characteristics in all great leaders:

  1. They study successful people: They have devoted significant time and energy to studying great leaders of the past and present. They take careful note of the results that have made others successful and find ways to incorporate the learning into their daily life.
  2. They take direction: Great leaders are willing to take direction from others. The ‘others’ could be a spouse, a boss or a religious leader. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t matter; they respect others and are willing to listen and take direction. They learn to trust in guidance outside themselves.
  3. They are humble: Most great leaders, both past and present, are humble, unassuming people. By ‘humble’ I do not mean weak or simple, but modest and self-effacing. They have a way of inspiring greatness in others while not drawing attention to their own successes. They look for ways to help others build confidence and find happiness in the successes of the people they help.

Think & Grow RichI can think of many leaders (past and present) who embody these characteristics in their lives. Napoleon Hill exemplifies a leader who was a great follower. He studied the lives of successful people for more than 20 years and compiled his findings in the book Think and Grow Rich.

He coined phrases like “thoughts are things” and “the mastermind” and quotes such as “whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” The interesting thing about Hill’s success as a leader was that he did not set out to become a leader. He humbly agreed to a challenge by Andrew Carnegie to learn about his secret and take it to the world. In part because of his willingness to be a follower (and a learner) he became a world-renowned author and leader.

Who are some of the great leaders you look up to? Do they exhibit these characteristics?


The Product Management Perspective: As the product manager you are on the front line for your products. You carry a huge responsibility for their success. Read about and study successful people (both inside and outside of PM). Be humble and open to taking direction from others. Incorporate these characteristics into your behavior and you will find increased success with your products.