Many authors, educators, founders, and executives have come on This is Product Management to reflect on their leadership successes and failures. From their perspectives, what makes for an impactful leader and what fundamental skills should aspiring leaders practice to take their careers to the next level?
What makes a great leader?
After more than 200 reflective conversations with authors, educators, founders, and executives on their successes and failures, a few essential leadership skills have stood out: the ability to foster innovation, turn a vision into a clear strategy, develop high-performing teams, and guide teams through the peaks and valleys of growth.
Take the case of Amy Radin, former Chief Innovation Officer at Citi and Author of “The Change Maker’s Playbook,” who detailed on the show all the skills required to lead effectively — and the bad habits that leaders need to kick in order to drive change.
Or Blade Kotelly, Leader of the Advanced Concept Lab at Sonos and Senior Lecturer at MIT, and Nick Caldwell, Chief Product Officer of Looker and former VP of Engineering at Reddit, who stressed to me the importance of creating strategies for teams that go beyond abstract vision statements.
Consider, too, the need for leaders to develop effective teams to carry out the strategy. A few months ago, Stefanie Shelley, advisor at Lovell Minnick Partners and former CMO at Broadridge Financial Solutions and Capital One Bank, shared the three components to creating high-performing teams.
And Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer and Executive VP at Adobe and author of “The Messy Middle,” and Stephanie Hannon, former Chief Product Officer at Strava, reminded us that leaders must motivate teams through the inevitable professional highs and lows — no matter how uncertain or challenging the situation.
In this episode, you’ll learn a lot about leadership skills, creating and motivating high-performing teams, and overcoming challenges.
Here are the highlights:
- The bad habits that leaders need to kick (1:38)
- How to create a vision that inspires teams (4:30)
- Why it’s so important for leaders to give their teams a mission (7:17)
- How to build high-performing teams (9:58)
- Navigating the peaks and valleys of growing teams as a company scales (13:45)
- Leadership tips to use in high-stress situations (16:23)