Soft skills are those attributes allowing an individual to interact and work well with others. This may include great communication, emotional intelligence, empathy, work ethic, and teamwork.
While hard skills are crucial for effective product management, a lack of certain soft skills can make leadership more of a challenge. Great product managers are capable of:
effective conflict resolution, good time management, networking, creative and critical thought, fast decision-making, and problem solving.
Hard skills are fundamental, sure. But soft skills can contribute to stronger product management overall; empowering teams to deliver better results with less internal conflict.
One of the most important soft skills for a product manager is the ability to listen. When a designer or developer has a problem to solve, they want a leader to hear what they’re saying and offer practical support.
That’s why communication is also key in product management. This extends beyond giving good team pep talks. It encompasses all forms of communication, from well-written briefs and clear roadmaps, to being transparent with all colleagues.
Lastly, a product manager who’s too focused on their own work, gets distracted easily, or struggles to put themselves in the other person’s shoes may be unable to offer the right level of leadership. So empathy is also a critical soft skill.