Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

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Practical techniques for increasing team success

Practical techniques for increasing team success

Teamwork is a key factor when it comes to creating workplace success. No doubt individuals with incredible talent can accomplish great things on their own. However, for your company to create great products and successfully complete projects, you need teams that collaborate.

Problems arise when teams aren’t committed to communicating and working together. What’s more, 86% of employees attribute major workplace failures to poor collaboration. Teams not committed to working together will never achieve the success they’re striving for. How do you get your teams collaborating?

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Why true leaders sacrifice

“Leadership is not a license to do less, it’s a responsibility to do more.”

What makes leaders different from everyone else? How do they build trust with the people they serve? Why do they forego their own interests on behalf of those they lead?

These questions refer to true leaders. The type of leaders whose followers will march behind them no matter where they’re headed. The type of leaders who inspire feelings of safety and commitment. Continue reading


How do you build the right culture in your company?

People in countries, organizations and companies tend to behave in similar ways. The term culture has come to represent this idea: the way people think, behave or work. The culture of a company can have a major effect on the value—in terms of products and services—that a company provides to its customers.

A recent Gallup study analyzed data from more than 30,000 employees in various industries to determine what characteristics led to companies creating a high-performance culture that improves top- and bottom-line business metrics. The analysis revealed six crucial components on which companies should focus: Continue reading

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Tips for Motivating Employees

Guest post by Marcela De Vivo

Managers and team leaders alike want to create the best possible environment for their employees in order to have a high-functioning workplace, but exactly how to go about this is a bit of a difficult question. Each employee has a particular way they get things done, but it is your job as their leader to motivate them to work together.


Image via Free Digital Photos

There are several different ways to go about motivating your employees; some are tried and true, and others may be things you have never done before. Whatever you do, start working today for a more positive work environment and higher group efficiency.

1. Spend time one-on-one

Sometimes, it’s easy for your employees to get lost in the midst of a huge corporation. This can be discouraging, and can ultimately cause them to think that their work is not recognized or needed.

Let them know that you do acknowledge and appreciate their efforts by spending some time with them, one-on-one. Share with them specific times when you have been satisfied with their work, and remind them why they are so indispensable within the company.

2. Be a good example

Your employees are constantly looking to you for how they should be doing things and how they should react in certain situations. That means, if you are constantly giving off negative vibes and criticizing the company, there is a pretty good chance your employees will learn to do the same.

Come into the office everyday with a positive attitude, and start including your employees in the decision-making process. They will start to respond to your outlook, which develops a much healthier work environment.

3. Devote a room to relaxation

When employees are at work day-after-day, accomplishing tasks and going to meetings, the office tends to become monotonous. Your employees need some place to relax and recharge, and why can’t this be right in your building?

Create a room specifically for relaxing and meditation. Use feng shui in the room to ensure there is a good flow and atmosphere for all your employees. One of the most effective ways to promote relaxation is to incorporate a water element within the workplace, such as a water wall or small fountain. When your employees feel rested, they will be more motivated to work hard.

4. Promote a safe environment

Like anyone, your employees get frustrated with some aspects of work. Does this mean that every time you hear them voice something negative you should be worried they are going to quit? Of course not! Instead, let them know it’s okay to speak up and voice their complaints.

As a leader it is your job to make this a healthy exercise instead of becoming negative, but sometimes getting something off our chest just feels good. Do what you can to listen to their requests and complaints and make some positive changes in the office.

5. Have fun as a group outside the office

A close-knit team works wonders for productivity at work. Building relationships and morale should be at the top of your list as a manager, but this doesn’t always need to stay at the office.

Plan group events with your team. Weekend barbeques at someone’s house, Monday morning breakfasts and even happy hour events after work all grow your employees together and get them excited to work together. You can even use these kinds of events as a reward for hard work.

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Image via Free Digital Photos

No matter what methods you employ, your employees should be very important to you. They are the ones working for you, and it is your job to motivate them to be the best they can be.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and business owner who always puts her team first. She and her team practice yoga and meditation every morning and, on Fridays, they all get together to have lunch to brainstorm and relax. You can find out more about her business and team by visiting Gryffin Media’s website.

The Product Management Perspective: As a product manager you have a major influence on all those responsible for creating, marketing and selling your products. While you do not manage those individuals, you can have a major effect on their productivity and success. Experiment with these principles to find ways to motivate those whom you count on for the success of your products.


Guest Post: Managing Your Manager

By Heather Green

Even managers have managers. Our bosses don’t always make our work life easy. A bad boss can impede the ability to work efficiently, can foster a negative work environment, or can be an obstacle to career advancement. Effective leaders understand how to manage these relationships in order to take charge of their own success. If you feel that your manager is making it difficult to do your best work or to enjoy your job, here are some ways that you can better manage the relationship:

Pinpoint the Issue

What exactly is it that is causing the problem for you? Do you feel undervalued as an employee? Do you feel that your manager changing decisions is undermining your work? Do you have a personality conflict? Getting to the root of your frustrations can help you understand how to solve the problem. Next, look to understand your manager. What are his personal values? What is her work philosophy? Understanding how your boss approaches management of the company or department and its employees can help you understand how approach him.

Improve Communication

Communication is key to every relationship in business. The type of communication you have with your manager can make or break your relationship and the success of your job. Start improving communication by having regular meetings with your boss so that you are both on the same page about the work you are doing. Take the opportunity to inform your boss about your current projects, issues with any employees you manage, client needs that you are addressing, and any other work you are doing. Even if you don’t have a formal meeting, make sure that you are keeping your boss in the loop. This kind of communication can reassure your boss of your competence (in case questions about your abilities were causing micromanagement or other problem behaviors) and can help you build a strong relationship over time.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Your boss didn’t e-mail you with the information you needed when you asked. Maybe he showed up late for a meeting that you were running. Bosses are people, and people aren’t perfect. Decide what’s important, and forget about the things that aren’t. If you get upset about every little annoyance, you’ll never be happy. Learn to prioritize what’s important, and find ways to resolve issues.

Don’t Try to Change Your Boss

People are who they are, and unless they are abusive or destructive in some way, you shouldn’t try to change them. You’ll only become more frustrated and unhappy in the process. Instead of trying to change your manager’s behavior, work on finding ways around your boss to do the job you need to do. If you know he is often late, plan to start a meeting with less important business or with socializing briefly with clients. If you know that your boss is bad about responding to e-mails, make a habit of stopping by his office or giving him a quick phone call. You’ll be able to get your work done, and you can move past the frustration of trying to make things different.

Know When to Leave

Sometimes, a bad boss is just a bad boss, and dealing with that person can keep you from the job satisfaction and success that you desire. Learn to recognize when the situation is just unmanageable, and don’t be afraid to move on and find a better situation. While it is important to know how to work with every type of personality, it is also true that compatibility can be critical to career success. Don’t be afraid to look for a boss and a work environment that is a better fit for you and that will inspire your best performance.

Even if you are a manager yourself, learning how to manage relationships with your boss and other superiors is a critical skill for career success. Ensuring a good relationship with your boss will help you to do your best work and to advance. If you have a difficult or counterproductive relationship with your manager, these steps will help improve the relationship.

Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on online nursing programs and online nursing schools.

The Product Management Perspective: The nature of product management organizations often leads to loose-knit teams where each PM spends more time with other teams (e.g. development) and where team members are less engaged with each other than in most other disciplines. More than 81% of product managers report to a director or higher, which explains why PM teams are often “loosely coupled” (as our dev friends like to say). If you are a product manger, applying the ideas above will help. Whether he’s the CEO or more like a peer, you will benefit by strengthening the relationship with your manager.