The Lessons of Thoughtful Leadership
Each day brings new opportunities to impact someone else’s life story. This possibility invigorates a spark every morning and motivates me to become an architect of thoughtful leadership.
Although I am aware that there’s no perfect solution to the challenges I face in my daily life, I am filled with aspirations, ideas, and idealizations without preeminence. As a result, I’ve found one of the best ways to galvanize my direct reports, partner teams, and leaders, and I use this enthusiasm and idealism as a strength multiplier.
My career as a product manager has enabled me to work in various companies, like start-ups and small, medium, and large organizations. As a result of this variety, I’ve worked for and with different leaders with distinct leadership styles. Some of these experiences were great, some not so great, but with each occasion, I am molded into the person and leader I am today.
The leaders that stand out to me, those I keep in touch with, are thoughtful leaders. They are cautious with clear confidence and buoyancy and absolute masters at leadership. But in addition, they understand that a big part of their calling as leaders is their profound influence on their organizations, and they take that responsibility very seriously.
These leaders have transformed my life and, in some cases, my destiny for the better. I have been lucky to have some of them as mentors, allies, and sponsors who have shaped and nourished me when needed. Because of their powerful leadership, I appreciate and treasure the incredible opportunity to serve as a leader. They inspire me to want to lead with grace and humility. I am in awe of them, and most significantly, they helped me recognize the incredible privilege of being accountable to every member of my partner teams, colleagues, and leaders.
So, let‘s dive into what makes a thoughtful leader and why it’s important in product management.
What is thoughtful leadership?
Thoughtful leadership denotes that a leader is celebrated, respected, admired, and trusted by their direct reports and organization. They are those people that when you are in their presence, others constantly walk up to them to say hello and chat with them. Thoughtful leaders are beloved; people want to work with them and hear their thoughts on different matters. These leaders are exceptional and well thought of because they show consideration and treat anybody they meet kindly.
What makes these leaders thoughtful is that they have done the work needed to lead, they are self-actualized and they have done the required self-development work to recognize their stalwartness, constraints, and temperament. They have assessed their own SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis without any predisposition.
Thoughtful leaders often contemplate and measure how their comportment, actions, words, and demeanor effects and impact their direct reports, colleagues, cross-functional partners, and leaders. Thoughtful leaders with self-awareness and mindfulness tend to contemplate and weigh the reach of their adjudications and determinations before making them, let alone to announce them.
Why thoughtful leadership is important in product management
We need thoughtful product leaders in product management because our vocation concerns humans and their lives. To bring any product to market requires a village. That village is our direct reports, multi-disciplinary partners, and leaders. We must care about their well-being, what drives and motivates them, and their personal and professional aspirations. Furthermore, we must galvanize, engage, and support them by communicating the story of our customers and how our products and services have profound ramifications and outcomes in their lives and why that matters.
Thoughtful product leaders build, promote, cultivate, and nurture diverse and people-centric cultures using thoughtful leadership practices.
The science of human relationships confirms that we want to be seen, heard, and validated. Therefore, thoughtful product leaders are attentive and watchful of their environment. They know the individuals within their organization; they know what each department does and the dependencies they have on each other. They pay attention to details which enables them to understand the emotions and thoughts of their teams and how they will react to decisions they are presented with.
These leaders are more than just observant. They utilize perpetual enthusiasm to motivate, inspire, and spur their partner teams and leadership. They can decipher those individuals facing challenges and difficulties, and they step in to offer support.
Thoughtful product leaders are effectual and authentic because they continuously assess their emotional state, strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats without bias. Awareness of their SWOT analysis enables them to comprehend and recognize how their thoughts and feelings impact their choices and decisions. To develop and grow, these leaders always engage in reflection, and introspection, enabling them to be even more graceful leaders.
Thoughtful product leaders do not put their recognition and promotion ahead of everyone else. Of course, they know that their own accolades will come, but what indeed accentuates and underscores their success story is the promotion and commendation of their teams. Therefore, they strive to bring out the best in their direct reports and partner teams and amplify everyone‘s voices, ensuring that leadership recognizes everyone's contribution to the organization's success.
Thoughtful leaders are highly regarded, distinguished, and renowned because they treat everybody well. They listen, acknowledge, and validate them. They make everyone feel valued. The influence of thoughtful leaders in my life continued to spur me to be more polished in my leadership.
Every day I aim to pass the mirror test. Looking in the mirror at the end of my day, I am grateful to have sparked a difference in the world. Without a shadow of a doubt, I used my leadership skills to bring about something good in someone‘s story. I hopefully made a difference through thoughtful leadership.