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Hereafter, I want you to tell me, candidly and in secret, what people are saying about me. And if you see anything in me that you regard as a fault, feel free to tell me in private. For from now on, people will talk about me, but not to me. It is dangerous for men in power if no one dares to tell them when they go wrong.

Wow.  I stumbled across this quote from Saint Thomas Becket this morning. If you don’t think being a leader takes courage, take a moment to consider what this quote is saying, and then within the context of your role as a product management leader ask yourself:

  • Do I foster an environment for safe and open dialogue within the team (both direct or matrixed)?
  • Am I willing to receive constructive criticism and honest feedback?
  • Do I model constructive feedback when difficult issues arise?
  • Do I take ownership for mistakes (my own, or from within my team)?
  • Do I openly praise others (rather than taking all of the credit)?

The article talks about humility and vulnerability being hallmarks of good leadership … I couldn’t agree more!  Over the course of looking at the blend of Product Management and Leadership, humility is one of the crucial components that is often misunderstood as weakness.  C.S. Lewis once said “humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”. Humility is not putting yourself down or denying your strengths, rather it is being honest about your weaknesses.

The only way that we as product management leaders will persuade and influence is to do so from a position of trust and respect. And the goal should never be solely about the gain of the individual, but rather the good of the business.

The 3 points that conclude the article are wonderful advice as next steps, but if you still aren’t convinced, take a look at this article – The Five Benefits of Humility For a Leader.