… Before you get anxious or worked up.
That seems to be the hallmark of a good product manager. Everyone’s problem is big to them, and it’s your job to sit everything (or everyone) in their rightful place. Because, no matter what people feel or think, some priorities must come before the other.
Easier said than done, but something that has helped me so far is to listen first and question, before jumping to conclusions. Sometimes there is an existing solution, even if it isn’t the most elegant. Or sometimes the stakeholder doesn’t have the full picture. Just keep those ears peeled, understand fully, and then you can have your say.
I’m glad that the stakeholders I’ve met thus far recognize and respect this aspect of the product management organisation. There will still be the back and forth, and the battles will still come, but at least I feel like my opinion is respected. And in cases where it isn’t, at least I feel like my superiors will back me up.