Navigating the shift from PM to leader

“What got you here, won’t get you there”

I was fortunate enough to experience this in a good way, twice

First when I went from engineer to engineering manager

Second when I went from #productmanager to PM leader

If the first one was hard, second one was one of the toughest

Off course, getting promoted in #productmanagement has its perks

– Expanded impact

You can influence the team’s work and shape the product direction.

-Leadership development

You’ll mentor, coach, and grow your team members (and yourself!).

-Skill set growth

You’ll gain experience in team management, strategy, and collaboration.

-Influencing product strategy

You’ll have a say in important product decisions.

-Building high-performing teams

Hire rockstars, foster a killer team culture, and see them shine.

-Visibility and influence

you will have a bigger voice in the organization.

Great upside, indeed.

Now come the challenges…

  1. Letting go of doing the work yourself

You’re used to rolling up your sleeves and getting things done. Now, you have to resist the urge to dive into the nitty-gritty and focus on guiding your team. It can be tough to trust others to handle tasks you used to tackle like a champ.

  1. Shifting from “doing” to “managing”

Gone are the days of being a lone wolf, churning out awesome work. Now, you’re responsible for leading a pack of talented individuals. It’s a whole new ballgame where your success depends on how well you motivate, inspire, and support your team.

  1. Balancing strategic and tactical work

You’ve got one foot in the strategic world, making big-picture decisions and mapping out the product roadmap. At the same time, you’re knee-deep in the tactical trenches, dealing with day-to-day issues and keeping the gears turning. Finding the right balance between the two can make you feel like you’re juggling chainsaws.

  1. Navigating relationships with former peers

Remember those pals you used to grab beers with after work? Well, now you’re their boss. It can be a bit awkward to shift from camaraderie to authority. Building trust and setting clear boundaries will help you navigate these new dynamics without losing friends.

  1. Building new skills

As a product management manager, you’re not just responsible for your own work; you’re also accountable for your team’s success. That means developing new skills like coaching, delegating, and resolving conflicts. It’s like learning to ride a bike all over again, but with a few extra wheels.

  1. Communicating effectively

Communication is key. You’ll need to master the art of getting your message across clearly, whether it’s to your team, stakeholders, or higher-ups. Nailing those updates, presentations, and tough conversations will be crucial for keeping everyone in sync.