The ideal personality type for product managers

Excerpted from Ben Foster:

Some types are (a lot) better suited for Product Management than others.

Since most people are familiar with Myers-Briggs and it offers a more robust profile than most other personality assessments I’ve seen, I’ll use that standard.  If you’re not familiar with the Myers-Briggs type indicators, you should be. Having worked with literally hundreds of different Product Managers, I’ve also pulled together some observations about what works and what doesn’t for each spectrum.

  • Extrovert vs. Introvert: Get someone who is somewhere near the middle. Product Managers need to be comfortable working alone at a whiteboard for 3 hours and equally cofortable chatting it up in the hallway.
  • Sensing vs. Intuiting: This is a no-brainer: N (intution) is better than S (sensing).
  • Thinking vs. Feeling: Thinking is more important than feeling.
  • Judging vs. Perceiving: Product Managers need a balance between the two.

(So) if I were forced to hire based on Myers-Briggs alone, I would hire my first Product Manager as an INTJ.

Here’s how strongly correlated Product Management and Myers-Briggs assessments can be. Around early 2005, eBay did a Myers-Briggs analysis of the entire Product Management team (over 100 people), and the results were staggering: Entire U.S. population: only 2.1% is INTJ. eBay Product Management: INTJ accounted for over 50%.

2 thoughts on “The ideal personality type for product managers

  1. Pingback: The best career advice you can give in two minutes | David Jackson

  2. Pingback: Four qualities to look for when interviewing a product manager | A Founder's Notebook

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