Product Knacks

Leading without authority

How effective product managers use indirect authority to lead


Indirect Leadership

Indirect leadership is the specific type of leadership that a product manager must display in a cross-functional capacity. It is a leadership style that uses indirect, rather than managerial reporting, to lead a non-reporting team to deliver results.

In theory, a product manager's role is well-established and there is mutual understanding between teams. In practice, people can disagree with you and choose not to operate under your prioritization. This happens more often than not. A traditional line manager has the organizational tools to keep a person in line under such a scenario, but a product manager does not. In order to lead effectively, the product manager must build strong relationships with each member of the team and learn how to influence them appropriately to operate within the product directive.

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