MTPcon 17 — theme 1: the contribution of leadership

Martin Eriksson opened the day with a story from his time as a PM at a London startup and a release that was particularly pivotal for the product, and for the company. At that time, he questioned his contribution to the release — he hadn’t prioritised any of the stories, discussed any of the designs or done any of the code. Yet, while that release had nothing to do with him, it had everything to do with him.

He had set the vision, he had given the team space to create that release, he had put the stake in the ground and allowed the team to follow that goal. While that contribution cannot be measured in lines of code, or in pages of prototypes, it is real.

A few of the other speakers had advice on product leadership. SVPG’s Lea Hickman spoke about the importance of communication, with the team, with management and with stakeholders. A product manager at all levels needs to be able to report back, and do so in an honest way. Admitting to failure away from blame attribution will help the team grow. Even at a junior level, a PM needs to set the rules of engagement with stakeholders, and that skill will continue to be useful as you progress along your career, so will accountability and integrity.And for her the ability to create autonomous teams only came with the teams taking on accountability and integrity, else it would simply be anarchy.

You shouldn’t be more concerned with being liked, over being open.

Barrie O’Reilly, who makes a living coaching C-suite leaders came from a different angle, and suggested that a leader needs to transform themselves to allow for transformation of the organisation — else transformation is destined to fail.

As a leader you think of your customers as your external customers, yet your staff and the people in your team are equally your customers, looking for your contribution as a leader. A great leader doesn’t have great answers, they have great questions. They can set a vision, yet on the execution, they need to give their teams purpose in order to empower them.

More MTPcon themes:

(2) creating space and opportunity for teams to perform

(3) rejecting or embracing the past

(4) designing for the future



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