There’s a quiet revolution going on. Quiet because its most notable symptom is the release of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Since its publication (and it’s been longer than you think, the book came out in 2012) there’s being a flurry of thought pieces arguing that the days of the buoyant and charismatic leader are behind us. That seems overly incisive, but it is true that management is growing its tent to allow other types of leadership styles.
In a piece we published last week, a self-professed introvert argued that introverts are better suited for product management, but it seemed unfair to let that be the only voice — so we turned to our readers and debaters.
Our debaters, as you can see, erred on diplomacy. But in our poll, 62% of you agreed that introverts do in fact make better PMs. Taking a poll seems like something introverts would do.
I think either personality type can be a great product manager, and I have worked with many examples on both sides. There are pluses and minuses but either can be great. I don’t see it as a determining factor.
Where you fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum has little impact on your chances of success as a PM. You might expect extroverts to excel if they enjoy interacting with people. But what if they do all the talking? The best product managers are strong listeners and ask probing questions that cut to the core of what the user really needs and why. With some practice and the right processes in place, anyone can excel at this.