This is a guest post by George J. Newton
It can be challenging to transition from being a great engineer into a position of leadership. While your technical knowledge and skills are essential to the execution of your role, being in a position of leadership also necessitates a range of non-technical skills. Here are four key principles to help you become an effective engineering leader, one who can not only achieve results, but also lead and inspire teams.
1. Understand Your Team’s Needs
Management positions require that you understand your team’s day-to-day job and develop empathy. The more you can understand your team’s individual journeys and experiences, the better placed you can be to support them to meet their goals and needs. Importantly, this will help you to ensure that they are not only engaged with the work, but that they are also being productive.
Ensure that you provide them with a clear working structure and weekly meetings, where you can all check in with each other and raise concerns. Additionally, you should ensure that you have the flexibility to spend time working with individuals on a one-to-one basis where necessary, mentor individuals through challenging situations, and whiteboard ideas when the team needs additional support.
2. Lead by Example
As a engineering leader, it’s your job to set the tone and lead by example. Share your own goals, visions, and aspirations with your team. They should have a clear understanding of your expectations at all times, including your ethics. Ensure that you communicate clearly and openly about all aspects of the project, including any areas that require further development. Ensure too that you’re accountable by taking responsibility for your own mistakes and being actively involved in the project. This will help you to build trust with your team.
3. Support Your Team to Grow
Effective engineering leadership requires that you also consider career growth in your wider project plans. Provide opportunities for your team to talk openly about what they want to achieve. By understanding the skills, interests, and aspirations of the engineers you’re working with, you’ll be better placed to make more informed choices and decisions for future projects.
Identify any training gaps that need to be addressed and provide opportunities to address these. It’s also important that there’s an appropriate procedure in place for people to use if they encounter a problem or need support and advice. Crucially, the more efficiently your team can work and support one another, the more you are able to achieve as a leader too.
“Encouraging experienced engineers to work with newer members is particularly effective. More experienced individuals have the opportunity to take on a mentoring role, sharing their knowledge and experiences, whilst newer members can infuse fresh perspectives into the project. This is a great way to support both groups to develop and grow,” says James Wilson, a product manager at Write My X and 1Day2Write.
4. Develop a Positive Mindset
Your mindset and approach are very influential to the ethos, working environment, and productivity of your team. It’s important that you foster a culture of community, where everyone on your team wants to contribute and work together. Even when there are challenges, it’s important for you to remain positive. If you maintain a positive outlook, your team is more likely to do the same.
“Whenever you’re confronted with a problem, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it and confront it. Treat it as an opportunity to grow and to model for your team how to overcome challenges. Encourage them to problem-solve and find new solutions to existing challenges. Praise your team when they achieve success, as well as for overcoming individual and team obstacles,” says Connie Williams, a tech writer at PhD Kingdom and Brit Student.
If you’re confident in yourself and your team, it will inspire others to be similarly positive themselves. A positive attitude and demeanor will foster a more positive and productive working environment for everyone.
Being a good engineering leader requires that you understand the aspirations and motivations of your team and work with them to create a positive and engaging working environment. By understanding what drives your team, you can support them to be enthusiastic and passionate about the projects you’re working on and therefore be more productive. Use the same drive and energy that helped you to achieve a position of leadership to inspire and support others.
About George J. Newton:
George J. Newton is an experienced business development manager at Coursework Writing Services and Research Paper Help. He also regularly writes for Nextcoursework.com, often sharing tips with managers on how to become more effective leaders. George has been married for 10 years and enjoys spending his spare time camping with his wife and attending business conferences.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about becoming an effective engineering leader.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success