Most of the time, product professionals fail to understand the similarities and differences between people leadership vs. thought leadership. A convincing thought leader probably started as a people leader. Leading is undoubtedly a sought-after position for which a person must have specialized knowledge and experience. Leaders are the ones who lead the team, guide them towards goals and provide all the go-to answers. They get rewards in terms of both money and respect. Professionals in leadership positions use their experience to navigate their coworkers towards actionable plans. It isn’t significant to be a thought leader if you are not a people leader. You can speak out about the best ways, but it’s useless if it is not the best way for your people, even if you are considerate with your written pieces and presentations.
Beginning of Thought Leadership
Product Management is ambitious, but it’s complex. The long hours of working on product making can take a toll if you lack the right people in your product team. Product leadership demands cross-disciplinary views from software development to manufacturing fields. Vast knowledge of different areas gives a product leader a unique insight. Their opinion and their experience bring several products from ideation to market. This could lead to the development of some great products.
Product leaders should make sure that they implement the best practices and always stay inside the circle of competence of their company. Though people surrounding them may get affected differently, product leaders just need to ignore things and feel empowered. They must utilize their knowledge and experience related to the product and translate it into their new role. Product leaders need to empathize with company culture, whether a new organization or a new team. They must respect it and exhibit a level of empathy towards their new team. The transition in leadership also affects the team members; therefore, a successful leader knows how the transition affects their coworkers.
Taking Your Thoughts Into New Territory
Being good at what you usually do is a good thing because you have earned that experience in your career as you have worked in different situations in your product manager jobs. But none of that matters if you can’t relate to the existing organization. Your ideas are useless if they don’t affect the company culture. It’s all about how you make and manage relationships. People have to accept and respect what you bring to the table. But if they don’t consider you worth listening to, your value will automatically decrease. People should connect with your ideas; otherwise, your existence won’t make any difference.
Companies struggle with transformation. The new hires come with all sorts of bonafide, make a big speech, and get the team fired. There’s a communication problem in the teams, and they find themselves siloed. The behavior of the new leader doesn’t align well with the values of the company. All these things show how thought leadership can take place without culture shifts.
Given below are some remarkable ways of effectively applying culture-shifting practices.
1.Good leaders, when join an organization, they always avoid the splash. Instead of trying to grab their attention, they should spend some time listening. Doing this is essential to understanding the company’s culture. It will also help them decide where their experience can help and where it won’t.
2.Good leaders always lead with experience instead of leading with company names. They share stories that pair with the listening tour and let the folks around them know who they are. Along the way, they find trivial issues and fix them.
3.Good leaders distribute the task. Instead of putting themselves in the front immediately after joining, they spend some time learning how the processes are already going in the company. After finding the actual difference makers, they get confidence in them. This way, they make sure that they have support at all levels.
Mind the Gap Between Thought Leadership vs. People Leadership
Making an impact once is good, but leaders should work hard to expand their circle of competence. There is an opportunity to build your muscle by working within the company’s culture, seeking new problems, and staying inquisitive. You go from one experience to several.
Have a down pat; leadership is uncertain, and what you do in your existing organization doesn’t always get you to the place you aspire to go to. Every cycle of transformation is another prospect to add to your toolkit. Therefore, you must focus on the culture and cultivate it. From there, you will see things developing. This will help you develop yourself as a realized thought leader who can tell a product story in numerous ways while focusing on the problem from different angles.
Change Is Hard. Use It To Get Better!