How to Become a Great Product Manager

So, what it takes to become a great product manager? What is the difference between an effective PM and an ineffective one? How do you identify the gaps in your competency that prevent you from becoming the best PM you can be?

In this article, I will discuss these gaps and how to close them by implementing solutions that are grounded in emotional intelligence and applied usability.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is about understanding and managing your emotional state at any given moment. If you can recognize your emotions and quickly and efficiently to change them, then you are a great product manager. We call this ability ‘being present.’ Core competencies are those areas where a PM either knows what he or she is doing well or is doing something very well. Core competencies are the areas where a PM can make the most impact for her company.

By integrating your core competencies with your personal emotional intelligence you can form the best PMs you can be. You will also find yourself in the enviable company of the best PMs you have ever known. The best PMs were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth; they worked hard and practiced what they learned. They did not just find the right company, but the right company fit for them.

Recognizing and reducing your gaps in core competencies requires that you focus on your present actions. Begin to ask yourself what you know about each of your core competencies. When you think about your weaknesses, identify where you need to improve. Then, use your newfound knowledge to do some analysis on your strengths. Identify the actions you need to take to increase your high EQ, create new opportunities for your high EQ, or expand on the opportunities already available. Once you have identified your gaps in skills and knowledge, write them down, and use them to start making changes in your company and to your own life.

A PMO internship is a great place to gain insight into how to identify your own core competencies and share them with others. Through role modeling from industry experts, getting to understand what makes a great PTM and what it takes to be a great PM, you begin to understand yourself and your company better. As a PMO intern, you will be exposed to many successful and unsuccessful PMs. The valuable insights you will receive will help you enhance your own skills and prepare you for your own role modeling experience in the future. As a student of role models, you will be introduced to the best PMs and how they approach challenges and problems in their environments.

You can learn a lot from an intern in human resources or from the many product management courses that are offered in universities, trade schools, and online. Most programs will include internships that provide valuable insight into what it takes to be a successful PM. You can expect to cover topics such as how to assess the current state of your company and your employees, creating effective communication tools, developing customer relationships, managing the growth of your organization, and much more. You will have the chance to network with other PMs from around the country as you complete your internship and the course work leading up to it.

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