I’ve spent the past 20+ years of my career building experience and expertise in the Product Management domain and across the Pragmatic framework. Within the past 2, I’ve begun exploring more deeply the interrelationship between Product Management and Leadership.

I’ve pointed out in many instances that whether intentionally chosen, or inadvertently thrust upon them, Product Managers are called to be leaders. So, how do you know when you’ve arrived?

Along the journey, I’ve encountered countless articles with the latest revelations on what it takes to be a good leader. As evidence, in writing this I “Googled” ‘traits of great leader’ and these were the top results:

Three, Four, Ten, 31 …. there is certainly no shortage of advice when it comes to the topic.  And don’t get me wrong, there are many traits within these lists that I wholeheartedly agree with and have posted on many times previously.

But then again, I recently attended a seminar with a well known psychologist Madeline Levine where she asked the question “how many traits does a CEO (or leader) need to be really good at to succeed in their role”?  Can you guess?  Would it surprise you to learn that the answer was three?

I read a book not too long ago by Mark Miller titled The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow.  It is an easy read, so I would recommend picking it up for yourself … but one of the poignant points he made that has stuck with me is this …

It’s not the title, or the perceived authority that comes with the role, that defines leadership.  You are a leader when you start acting like one.