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10 Ways Engineers Can Improve Their Management Skills

To be an efficient engineer is something but to be an effective engineering manager is another thing! These engineering management skills can help you.

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Engineers are highly technical beings but with superb engineering management skills, their potential can be limitless.

Combining skillful engineering prowess while leading highly technical teams, engineering managers can actually be considered super humans with great powers—but of course, with great responsibilities as well.

Now, here are tips on how engineers can improve their management skills:

1. Set realistic goals and let them know it

What is the purpose of your company? What are the goals you/they need to meet? How do you envision your team or the company 10 years from now?

Photo Management Skills

Let your team know the clear goal you aim for the company. Give them also a chance to think and engage with these goals. In this way, they will envision their roles and responsibilities and how their works little or big can contribute as a whole.

To do list:
• Conduct a special meeting to discuss on these goals.
• Hand them a copy after the meeting.
• Have it printed and place it where everybody can see it.

2. Before ‘too operational’, be relational

Do you know your people well? Do you know what motivates them?

Engineering Management Skills

Management skills do not stop on being ‘too operational’, you must possess a relational attitude towards your people. Reminder, you can’t be relational with someone you don’t know, so it really requires you to have shared experiences with them.

To do list:
• Allot time to meet them on a regular basis
• If possible, have a one-on-one meeting.
• Make them always feel they are part of the company’s success.

3. Always be exceptional

How do other people see you and your team? Is it good? Is it exceptional?

Observe yourself and your team. How do people from the outside see you? You need to push your team to be exceptional and to acquire a unique brand you can claim to be your own. Always have an incomparable image, you and your team want to project towards work and ethics.

To do list:
• Set a meeting on how you think you and your team can be exceptional. Let them suggest.
• Get company color and company dress code that suits the kind of job you offer.
• Consider to have a company branding as your logo, email addresses, etc.

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4. If you get along, others will go along

How often do you communicate with your team? Is it too often or too seldom?

There is a quote saying, “A team is many voices with a single heart.” It is important to maintain an open and good communication with your people. You will see good engineering managers having an impact to his/her people not only through staying connected but also making sure their people are also able to communicate with them easily. After all, it’s about meeting at the right frequencies.

To do list:
• Boost their confidence during meetings
• Review how your assignments are transmitted to them

5. Always have a positive attitude

How often do you say ‘Good job!’ when they deserve it? How many times have you thanked them when they finish and even exceeded expectations based on what you have given them?

Have a positive attitude towards your people by looking on their strengths not their weakness, on what more they can do, not on what they cannot. Seek out others on the team with complementary gifts and skills. Through all of these things, work together,

To do list:
• Never hold back compliments to your people
• Say ‘Thank you’ or ‘Good job’ more often

6. Commit yourself to happiness

How happy is your working environment? Do you take time to have fun?

Show sense of urgency but always have enough time to relax, chill and laugh at work. Engineers are not robots, they also have their quirky sides in them. Don’t just enjoy working and improving your company’s work performance, you and your team must also enjoy your company.

To do list:
• Allot days for team buildings, or get together activities
• During meetings, lighten up your people’s mood and laugh.

7. Keep great players

Do you see outstanding employees in the team? How do you treat them?

Have in mind that you cannot build a great team without great team players. Never let top performers from your people just go. Like engines, your engineers need an extra fuel to burn more fire and take pride on what they do. Always have a reason for them to stay.
To do list:
• Keep an eye on them and challenge them
• Pay them of what they deserve
• Give them new challenges for them to level up

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8. Give priority to low performer employees

How do you deal with employees with unsatisfactory work and attitude?

In every company, there is always incompetent employees. Speak up to them as truthfully and kindly as possible. Just as you keep an eye to top performing employees, challenge also the low performers. Train and equip them most of the time, they might just be needing more oil to absorb more heat and run a more effective system. Make it your last option to give up on them or terminate them in the company.

To do list:
• Pay attention to them and to their works
• Meet them to say how can they improve
• Have yourself a time to keep them and a time to let them go

9. Learn your mistakes and admit it

When was the last time you made a mistake as an engineering manager? Do you admit it as your own fault or pointed it to your people?

Think about the mistakes you recently made while completing a project or working with your employees. Write them down, study them and determine what you can do differently the next time you face a similar situation. Engineers are not perfect—everyone has their own chink in the armor.

To do list:
• When something bad was brought out during a meeting and you know you are part of that trouble, as an engineer/manager, admit your fault to them.

10. Train yourself to be professional in ALL aspects

When dispute over you and your employees rise, how do you react? How do you keep your focus and act professional?

When you discover an issue between you and your employees, find the first reasonable opportunity to address it with them in a professional manner. In this way you can also encourage others to do the same with you.

To do list:
• Discuss how delegation of work will be different this time
• Empower your team and improve your team’s productivity

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