The Most Important Person on the Project

As a product manager, it’s important to recognize the most important person on the project. When you notice and recognize him or her, they will put more effort into the product. The key point is that everyone on the project is the most important person on the project. Everyone needs to understand their importance and the value they bring to the team.

I am currently rereading an old classic. “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. In his principle #6 “Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely”. I have found that making the team members feel important by valuing their contributions to the team has created an environment where each and every team member is valued. In that environment, you will be amazed the contribution you will get from each and every team member.

“Life wants you to know that people are more important than things.”
― Bryant McGill

As a product manager, it’s important to recognize each and every team members strengths. When people realize that you recognize their strengths, it also opens the door in the relationship to also gently and privately voice opportunities for improvement.

Most people know how good it feels to be valued. That feeling you get when you are recognized for your specific skills and strengths. It makes you feel like you have purpose, like you have significance, and makes everything seem right.

I learned this lesson at a very young age. I was playing high school basketball and sitting on the bench. My coach came along side me one day and said I should be starting. He said I was the quickest, the fastest, and could jump the highest. All those were true, but my play didn’t reflect it. Over the next several weeks my play began to reflect it and soon I was in the starting line-up. Having a coach come along side me and remind me of my strengths encouraged me to put the effort and leverage my strengths. I will never forget how my coach made me feel and the results it produced. I remember scoring 13 points in the 2nd half of the district championship game that allowed our team to pull away with a victory and win the championship.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
Stephen Covey

As a product manager, it’s your responsibility to not only provide the vision of the product for the team, but to also help the team understand how important their role is in seeing that vision come to life. Be sure you let every team member know how important they are to the project.

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