Engineers who choose to get a job in big companies have a career ladder to climb, which of course starts at the bottom. Time will come that they will be promoted to positions that require leadership and management skills. Bad news is that these skills are not usually honed or developed in the early steps of the ladder.
While it’s perfectly fine to feel terrified at that stage of the career, engineers only need to face the reality of what’s ahead with utmost preparation. Because there is no escape. And work should be done.
There are a lot of first times to experience as an engineering leader or manager. To not mess them up, one has to be mindful of the following leadership and management mistakes:
HOLDING BACK. You are promoted for a reason, and that reason is perhaps you have the capacity to lead or manage the team. When you make decisions you should be firm and take responsibility for them. It is necessary to take risks – they are not always rewarded, but experiences from your first few months will make you become wiser.
FAILING TO DELEGATE. As an engineer in the lower position, you might be used to doing all the work on your own. That’s not the case anymore when you are already a leader or manager, as you have team members you can trust. You have subordinates who get paid for tasks that you delegate among them.
SETTING UNCLEAR EXPECTATIONS. You have to communicate with your team as soon as you got the job. Explain what is expected of them to do or accomplish. Engineers are good listeners, but they can only be so if there is a leader or manager talking.
EXPECTING EMPLOYEES TO DO EVERYTHING AS YOU SAY. Yes, you have command over your team members but it doesn’t guarantee that they will be followed 100% of the time. Being a leader or manager, you have to accept that you are not always right. Do not every utter, “do what as I say” as that is an unbecoming attitude for a leader or manager.
TURNING A BLIND EYE. In times of glaring mistakes or bad decisions made, recognize them. Do not ignore what is on the table and always act on things that need attention. It could cost you the entire company.
UNABLE TO REWARD EMPLOYEES. You liked being rewarded when you were at the bottom of the pack, didn’t you? Pay it forward to your subordinates. It makes them feel that they are valued in the company.
Source: Industry Leaders