Lessons Learned From Being A Product Manager

a person juggling multiple tasks that all need to get done

Post created by Rebecca Andrews
Applied IMC (Spring Quarter 2023)

In this blog post I walk through my experiences in managing others, and I discuss the key lessons I have learned. Additionally, I relate this key lessons to being able to effectively and successfully manage a team. 


The past few months have been extremely rewarding as I have gained a great amount of knowledge and experience from managing two content creators in Applied Integrated Marketing Communication. From my time, a few lessons stand out to me. These being, to be welcoming and open to all questions, and to be helpful in as many instances as possible. Additionally, to make sure that you are helping those you are managing, learn from your successes, and most importantly your failures. Finally, the last important lesson I learned is to be patient.

I feel that these lessons are incredibly important for every manager to know, as through these you are able to bond with your team, encourage growth, and find success in the tasks you are attempting. In order to showcase this, I will use the coming paragraphs to break all these lessons down.


Lesson #1: Be Open, Welcoming, and Helpful

Image depicts a scrabble letter holder with the letters spelling "Be Open"


The first and arguably most important lesson that I learned as a product manager is to be open, welcoming, and helpful. Now, I know this might seem to be incredibly obvious, but it is often the first hurdle to overcome when you are managing others.

I first realized this toward the beginning of my time as a product manager when I reflected on my time as a content creator. In my reflection, I realized one thing that I value is to feel heard, like I am being seen and accepted, and like someone is there to help me. I felt like these qualities are what make a successful manager and leader, as I think everyone wants to feel heard, seen, accepted, and like they have an ally to help them. From this reflection, I knew that I had to exude these qualities so that my content creators felt they could come to me for help, and feel like we are all the same side working to a common goal.

Because of this reflection, I took immediate action in the beginning to explain to my content creators that I was there to help them anytime they needed it, and for anything they may need help with. Additionally, I also tried to convey that I had gone through the same thing as them, so I knew what they were feeling, and I am empathetic toward what they are going through. I felt that through doing this I would convey a sense of being open to their frustrations, open to their feelings, and open to them as people. Altogether, I hoped and fully believe now that through doing these actions, I conveyed a sense of welcoming, and made myself more approachable.

In the end, I fully believe that explaining how empathetic you are, how your previous experiences give you a lens into the experiences of others, and by explaining how you are there to help anytime someone needs it, you convey to those you manage that you are open, welcoming, and helpful. All of which I believe encourages a strong team bond, and helps ensure that those you manage enjoy working with you, and deliver on the tasks your team is assigned.

Lesson #2: Share Your Successes, But Also Your Failures

 Image depicts Albert Einstein and a quote from him about failure and success


The second lesson that I learned from my time in Applied IMC, is to share your successes, but also your failures. I personally feel that this lesson is often overlooked as we are hesitant to showcase any possible failure as we believe it showcases weakness. However, I personally found that the opposite occurs.

Specifically, I found in my experience in managing content creators that often times failure is the best teacher. For instance, I found when we were working with our Spotify client, that my failures in designing an ad helped my content creators understand what to do, what not to do, and what traps to not fall into.

Additionally, I found that often times the same mistakes are repeated across different groups of people. However, when you explain your failures, this can often times mitigate any possible repetition of common mistakes. Simply, this is because odds are if there is a common mistake, you made it too! By explaining how you failed or your missteps, you can help those you manage not make the same mistakes, and hopefully help your team find success.

Ultimately, I fully believe that I would not have found anywhere near as much success in managing others if I had not shared my failures as well as my successes. Truly, I believe that every manager should share where they have experienced failure and how they overcame it.

Lesson #3: Be Patient

 Image depicts a long road ahead, with Patience written at the bottom or beginning


The third and final lesson that I learned from my time as a product manager is to be patient. Often times, we get stuck in our thinking of “I get it, why don’t they?”. This, however, is damaging thinking as this like of patience is a team killer.

I found very early on that the biggest blocker I faced as a product manager is frustration that my content creators were not understanding something that I felt was very clear. In fact, this frustration did not stem from my content creators not having an adequate knowledge or commitment issues. Instead, it simply was a result of this being their first time doing this kind of work.

Once I realized this, I understood that the problem was not them, or me, or anyone, it was simply just the symptom of the time it takes to acclimate to new things. From this realization I found that I actually became a better product manager as I learned to be patient with those who are learning something new. I found that in life (both personally and professionally), the 

easy option is to become frustrated when we perceive something to be easy, and to close ourselves off. However, only when we look past this do we reach the promised land of patience.

When we actually reach this blissful state of patience, I have found that teams work better, and achieve better results. I personally believe that this is a result of those who we manage feeling relieved and safe that we are not judging them, or thinking less of them. It is only when we achieve this state of patience and understanding that I have found a team is able to gel, and achieve everything they can.

In the end, patience is perhaps the key to creating a cohesive team that is able to achieve its full potential. I fully believe that from my time as a product manager that if I had not been patient, or had gotten frustrated easily, my team would not have worked cohesively, and delivered the strong product that we did. Truly, patience is the cornerstone of an effective team, and is the key building block in team cohesion.


Overall, I implore you to take the lessons I have learned and implement them into your experiences with managing others. I fully believe that these lessons apply to everyone, and can help any team, anywhere, find the success that they are seeking.

Ultimately, I wholeheartedly believe that my time as a product manager has prepared me to succeed in any future management endeavors that I experience. I fully believe that everyone should manage people sometime in their lives so that they can learn what works, what does not, and how they can improve themselves and those they manage. Truly, my time in Applied IMC has made me a much better person, manager, and leader, and I now fully believe that I have the skills necessary to navigate any future management position I obtain.