I have received many questions recently through the different social media outlets to the effect of, “How do I go from design engineer to manager in my engineering career?”
It’s a great question and one that many engineers ask. In my career travels as a design engineer, and the last few years as an Engineering Management Institute, I have worked with, coached, and spoken to many engineers about this topic specifically and in this post I want to offer some engineering career advice based on my experiences.
In talking with many successful engineers that have made the transition from design engineer to manager, here are some guidelines that may be helpful in your transition:
Learn How to Delegate
What do I mean by learn how to delegate? Well I could have just said, start delegating, but many successful engineers will tell you that it’s not that easy. As engineers we get so wrapped up in day to day technical aspects of projects that when it’s time to go take on a managerial role, we either don’t want to give up the technical tasks to someone else or we are so involved in our projects, it is hard to take a more “hands-off” role.
Many engineers have the mentality of, “I want to do it to ensure it gets done correctly. That’s understandable being that you are a competent project manager, however to make a transition from engineer to manager, you are going to have to let other people help you. You are going to have to take the time to teach them how to do it, in order to free up your time for other things. The best way to do this is to start by giving small tasks to your team members to let them gain your trust. Once they build up your trust, you will feel more comfortable giving them larger tasks until you can remove yourself from the “trenches” and take on more of a managerial role. [Read more…] about From Design Engineer to Manager in 2012 – You Can Do It!