Your coworkers can be your best teachers.
Watch how other product people work and learn from them.
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Robot Overlord Joke of the Day
I heard the man who invented Autocorrect died.
May he wrist in peach.
Mirror traits in those that you admire.
I have had the luxury of working with incredibly talented people throughout my career. The kind of people that once you’re done with one of their presentations, you can’t help but think, “Damn. That was amazing.” We all know our strengths, and hopefully, by now, we understand our weaknesses. If one of your coworkers does something unique and it’s something you think you could use to help round out your skillset…why not look at it like a lesson, and you are the student?
Let’s check out three ways to learn from the people around you and build on your product management skillset.
1. Observe and share your positive feedback.
If you’ve read my previous newsletters, you know I’m a stickler for being positive whenever you can be at work. Another focus of mine is to provide feedback to team members when it makes sense.
I often observe team members working their product magic, and I admire or find how they think or are presenting their thoughts. Being able to fire up a conversation with that team member immediately after experiencing this thing you loved and telling them is a great way to build rapport with them and make them feel good or appreciated a bit more that day.
We work incredibly hard to master our craft, and positive feedback when we are doing well feels good and gives us a greater sense of purpose.
2. Test out what you have learned and ask for feedback.
You have identified a trait or tool that your team member is doing that you sit back and think, “I could use this to make what I do better.” Assuming you aren’t stealing IP or using things in a way that takes away from your team member’s personal brand, you should consider thinking through how you might incorporate this into your world. The next steps are to attempt to follow their process to see if you can make it work.
I had a team member who made stunning Powerpoint slides, and I asked them, “What is your secret? I love your decks!” I discovered that throughout their career, they had been purchasing Powerpoint templates in many different ways to present information that matched the look and feel they wanted. They would regularly purchase new decks, modify them to fit their message, and present the information accordingly. It didn’t dawn on me that this was an option, and once I tried it out, I was so excited to have leveled up my PPT game and thanked them for the insight.
Try out your new tricks and ask them for feedback on how well you’re doing if you feel comfortable. You can get some ideas around an approach that could be helpful as you iterate.
3. Don’t forget to prop out your team members.
Thanks to someone on your team, you identified ways to improve your product skillset. You tested and tried out new ways of operating. Perhaps you even received feedback from the team member to help you level up your training. Why not give them props for being excellent at what they do directly to your team? Let important team or leadership members know how they helped you improve.
As you evolve and understand gratitude's importance, taking this approach will help you establish a culture that fosters sharing, collaboration, and better teamwork.
Assuming you’re not trying to be a wolf pack of one when you’re in the office, of course. Don’t be that person.
Check out a Friend of Product Party Newsletteris a newsletter by an awesome product person, , which has a ton of great insight and ideas for product folks regarding career growth, leadership, and how to grow into an amazing product manager.
One of her recent newsletters, “3 Ways to Get Feedback,” has a few great ideas that complement this issue of the Product Party newsletter. Specifically, she highlights the importance of asking team members/stakeholders questions to elicit feedback for you and your product, active listening, and taking the time to absorb and learn from the feedback.
Click on the following button and give her a sub. Tell her Product Party sent you 🎉
Video of the Day
Dacher Keltner: Why Awe Is Such an Important Emotion
This presentation by Dacher Keltner hits on the theme above - learning from and appreciating some of the things your coworkers do that “awe” you is a great way to build relationships at work.
From a related article related to awe from Summer Allen influenced by the video:
Interestingly, another part of this study found evidence that culture may also influence awe’s effects, leading people from individualistic cultures to feel as if their social network has expanded (they feel closer to more people) and people from collectivistic cultures to feel closer to those already in their network.
Podcast of the Day
Creating Connection to Improve Work Culture with Chris Hsiung - Relationships at Work - the Employee Experience and Workplace Culture Podcast
I loved this podcast because Chris Hsiung had some great approaches to building connections with coworkers and better communicating within your team to improve work life.
What is the best thing you’ve learned from a coworker? Click the button to leave a comment. Let’s go!
Past newsletters you might find interesting
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