Recently I was speaking about Product Managers at a virtual meet and shared a few examples of great product managers with whom I had the opportunity to crossroads. Fortunately and incidentally I was pointed out that 6/10 were female PMs that I mentioned citing great work. Well, it was not planned as I appreciate ethics and performance over gender. I was also intrigued to answer why the majority of them were females and what sets them aside. Hence I thought of writing this blog to share my thoughts.
If you like it do connect me over
Women PMs to follow
- Bo Ren @bosefina: She’s a veteran of Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.
- Merci Victoria Grace @merci: She’s a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners and the former Head of Product, Growth at Slack
- Julie Zhuo @joulee: From being the first intern at Facebook in 2006 to its VP of product design.
- Melissa Perri @lissijean: Founder & CEO of Produx Labs, frequent speaker, and author of Escaping the Build Trap, also founded the Product Institute
- Teresa Torres @ttorres: Teresa is Product Discovery Coach at Product Talk
- Ellen Chisa @ellenchisa: CEO and Co-Founder at Dark, Ellen previously worked at Lola, Kickstarter, and on Office Mobile.
- Erin Teague @ErinTeague: She’s the Head of Product for Youtube VR & AR
What makes them so special:
Before we get into the details of what gives an edge to women over men in PM roles let me set it straight that I consider Integrity, Hard work, Creativity, Smartness, Persistence as the most important skills in any PM and are neutral to any Gender. However, as both males & females are different let’s use the below to appreciate the specialness in women rather than arguing about it. These are not exhaustive are should be considered just my thoughts.
Life teaches us in many ways, sometimes we are encouraged by our peers & mentors which help us learn the traits of life at times we learn it the hard way.
1. Balanced Ego
- Let’s call this a trait that is hard to develop and balance. Mostly it comes naturally to women as part of evolution.
- The way I read Balanced Ego can also be related to them being Confident & Modest at the same time. It’s only the rare women who are overconfident. It’s important to know you are not the smartest person in the room. Even personalities like Aishwariya Rai, Kiran Majumdar, Kamla Harris who are at the peak of their professions exhume this trait quite comfortably
- Needless to say, Ego not only hurts the individual but also the product.
- A person with a balanced ego is more acceptable to LISTEN and ADAPT, nothing is more important for any PM.
2. Emotional Intelligence
- Well as a PM you don’t need 1 skill but a range of skills. This becomes more important when we consider that as a PM you need to navigate a lot of people and a lot of situations. The people involve dogmatic engineers, creative designers and hot heated executives too. Don’t forget angry customers also sometimes.
- Here Emotional Intelligence allows engaging with different stakeholders in a positive yet constructive manner.
- Well, Humility and Balanced ego may seem linked but humility goes way beyond that. Their mindset and attitude is at times spread fast and catches the eye of their teammates.
- Women PMs can distinguish between their self worth whether their ideas make sense or not with their end customers. They also have the ability to publicly speak about their weakness and also tackle them.
- As a PM and as stated above a PM needs to handle and work with different stakeholders at times these personalities are so difficult that it needs a special level of stamina and persistence to problem solve.
- They also need and have an enormous amount of patience which is a key skill for persistence