Focus on Getting Better at Your Engineering Job Every Day is a guest blog by Holly Welles
Whether you’re starting an engineering management role for the first time or you’re a more seasoned professional, your energy is likely to wane after a few months of focusing at getting better at your engineering job. You’ve settled in and learned the ropes, after all. It becomes easier to do what needs to get done without pushing yourself to keep advancing your skills, service and expertise.
At this stage, it’s important to keep up your motivation. Engineering management professionals can do themselves, their teams and their clients a huge favor by focusing on getting better at their jobs every day. While it seems like a tall order, continual improvement is actually pretty easy to bake into your everyday routine.
You can focus on improving your priorities, mindset and knowledge with just a little effort each day. Here’s how to get started:
1. Prioritize Your Most Important Tasks
If you really want to get better at your job every day, it’s time to restructure your priorities. It’s not enough to keep up with your workload, as challenging as it may be. You want to determine your long-term goals and reorganize your work to take on the most impactful tasks.
Sit down and write out 3-5 goals for the year. Perhaps you’re working toward a promotion or want to deliver certain results with the completion of a major project. Next, determine the tasks that will take you from point A to point B. Do you need to reduce major delays? Get other team members on board with initiatives? Master new skills?
The trick is to break these tasks into manageable chunks and prioritize them in your to-do list each week. Over time, the small goals that you tackle consistently will equal the major goal you’ve set for a month, year or even 5 years. Keep your eyes on the major prize and make sure you’re prioritizing the work that will have the greatest impact on your career.
2. Become a Servant Leader
You might be new to engineering management, but this doesn’t mean you can’t practice leadership. No matter your position, one of the most crucial steps to becoming a valuable team member is to adopt a servant leadership mentality.
Servant leadership requires refocusing your energy away from yourself and onto the success of your team, company, clients or even greater society. This attitude helps you improve communication, deliver stronger results and ultimately, become a better person at work. There are a few simple steps to practicing empathetic leadership:
- Ask coworkers and managers for consistent feedback. Opening yourself up to conversation and criticism allows you to evaluate how you can create even more value for your team each day.
- Support others. Rather than strictly dividing responsibilities, reach out and ask how you can solve problems. Perhaps there’s a tool or communication method you could be using that would improve the project as a whole.
- Align your goals with company objectives, not just personal achievements. Many companies will focus on client satisfaction or social responsibility as core tenets of their mission. Whether you devote time to a sponsored volunteer initiative or focus your energy on driving client-oriented results, you’re helping you and your company take steps in the right direction.
3. Focus on Continued Learning
Engineering is a diverse and constantly changing field. If you want to get better at your engineering job every day, then you need to hone your skills. If you look at the top performers in any field, you’ll likely notice at least one characteristic they have in common: they’re devoted to learning.
This doesn’t mean you need to go back to school and earn another degree, although that’s certainly an impressive goal. Instead, refining your technical and soft skills alike can help you become a better engineer and a better leader each day. Here are a few possibilities:
- Subscribe to a few industry publications, either online or in print. What’s happening in your industry? How can you use this knowledge to become better at your job?
- Participate in online training, such as EMI’s management and leadership initiatives.
- Make an effort to network with other engineering professionals at events or online.
- Seek out mentorship opportunities at work, either formal or informal.
Become a Better Engineer
When you focus on getting better at your job every day, you’re not necessarily making sweeping changes. Instead, you’re devoting your time to becoming incrementally better at the most impactful tasks. Making time for high-priority work, adjusting your perspective on leadership and seeking constant self-improvement will set your engineering management career up for long-term success.
About Holly Welles
Holly Welles is a real estate and construction writer with an interest in emerging market trends. She is the editor behind The Estate Update, and even more of her work can be found via Twitter @HollyAWelles.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about focusing on getting better at your engineering job.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success