Improving Product Leadership Skills

Product Leadership Skills

Last updated on March 20th, 2018 at 09:16 am

While most of the product managers out there are still finding their place in this new domain; we see product people starting’grow up’ in their organizations. That either means you look at growing horizontally in your field or begin to embark on the management path of becoming a product leader.

While there are multiple MBA or other academic programs out there which look to prepare domain experts of all kind for a C-level entry, the question of how to educate and form product leaders remains unanswered.

On the one hand, this is natural, as the education for the individual contributor level of product management has just started to emerge (e.g., by the CODE university in Berlin). But on the other hand, this situation leaves organizations and their aspiring product leaders alike looking for input to develop their skills beyond effective PM tactics from the day-to-day business.

While this issue led to the release of some exciting content like the book on Martin Eriksson on Product Leadership, formal education opportunities remained rare.
That’s why it was pretty impressive to see the launch of the Product Management Executive Programme at the Product Management Festival 2017. PMF partnered with INSEAD (pretty much one of the most popular MBA institutions worldwide) to set up a programme aimed explicitly at aspiring product leaders.

The programme takes place twice in 2018 and takes five days to complete. Among the teachers is also Mark Hull, Product Director at Facebook. His keynote was one of the most anticipated ones at PMF 2017 (and he didn’t disappoint).

Here’s a sneak peek of what the programme includes and offers:

Product Leadership

  • Scaling the PM organization
  • Managing a board and other stakeholders
  • Managing a product portfolio
  • Building a product strategy and managing growth
  • Using OKRs and KPIs effectively
  • Guiding through org changes such as M&A

Leadership Development

  • Acknowledging and developing your leadership style
  • Acquiring the skills to lead diverse teams
  • Leading without formal authority
  • Understanding and using networks
  • Harnessing the power of organizational culture
  • Honing negotiation skills
  • Communicating with a board
  • Recognising your impact on group dynamics

From my perspective, especially topics like dealing with M&A processes or introducing OKRs are challenges you just are just not confronted with on a daily basis as a product manager but can be crucial when entering a new career level.
The most significant advantage this programme offers compared to traditional MBAs is teaching about leadership skills in the practical context of product management.

With initiatives like the Product Management Bachelor from the CODE university and MBA-like programmes like the Product Management Executive Programme starting to emerge, I’m happy to see the art of product management rise even further through the education and development of incredible talent.

Wanna learn more about the PMF? Use your chance to win a free Single Entrance ticket for the 2018 conference:

When you’re looking for more resources on developing and improving product leadership skills, you should also take a look at my recommendations for podcasts, books, and conferences.