An Empathetic Product Manager

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. 

In a product management sense, It is a way of understanding your customers’ underlying needs and motivations.

Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes, to see and understand the world from their perspective- Ken Norton

Product managers influence the development of technological products and businesses. That may seem insignificant, but technology has become woven into the fabric of our lives. Product managers, are at the cutting edge of shaping how technology shapes their lives. Making empathy the guiding concept of the work is something one owes to themselves, their team, and their users.

Now, the real question is: How can you be empathetic as a product manager?

Here are a few suggestions:

Empathy and Users

Asking questions to determine a user’s motivation to fix a problem is an ideal base. If your product is B2B, you’ll want to know what they aim to accomplish with their company and how they assess success. It’s vital to remember that in B2B, “customers” are people, not businesses. Some PMs complain over being held at a distance from users.  

We want our products to satisfy our users, and having user empathy is a vital element of our approach, which helps us achieve that goal. You can offer a product experience that is memorable for your consumers and genuinely differentiated for you by having empathy for their emotional requirements in addition to fulfilling their functional demands.

Start by chatting to friends, building a relationship with someone in sales/support who can help you gain access, or listening in on internet forums where your users hang out. Make a way or find a path. As a result, your product will be better.

Empathy and Hiring

It is never a good idea for a company to hire just for the sake of diversity. They should instead hire with more empathy—for their applicants, their team, and their customers. Everyone will have greater opportunities as a result of this. Hire people with no prior experience and train them to be the next generation of excellent product managers. Companies inadvertently reinforce imbalances of the past by prioritizing experience over potential. A great PM can be anyone with the appropriate combination of enthusiasm and talent.

Empathy and Leadership

Empathy is also necessary for leading a team, particularly for PMs who have a heavy responsibility but no authority and must earn people’s respect and support. If you can see the world through the eyes of your engineer or your vice president of sales, you’ll be able to comprehend what inspires them, what discourages them, and what you can do to assist them.

Workshop on Empathy Mapping

Consider holding an Empathy Map workshop when developing a new feature. 

Empathy mapping is a way to characterize your target users to make effective design decisions. This is a self-contained method of validating success assumptions. It’s a synthesis of all the concepts discussed in this article: recruiting qualified consumers, generating self-organizing personas, designing a user journey, and getting early feedback.

If you really think about it, one of the most critical traits for a product manager to have is empathy. Product managers don’t just tell you what to do. They must create frameworks, assess risks, and guide people in the creation of excellent goods. They must be empathic towards each of them to guide individuals and align them to a similar purpose or vision.


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