Newbies in the field of engineering have one crucial thing to do in the workplace that is nowhere near technical: earn the trust of the people around, especially engineers. They are bound to do so at the onset of the job since good working relationships are always founded on trust. It is from the lack of such that conflicts between engineers often build up.
This is not a requirement exclusive for the newbies, but also to those who are hired by a new company, which means meeting fresh faces. No matter what they say about them being the most trusted men and women in their previous companies, they will have to earn the trust of their new co-employees.
Engineers are almost always driven by logic, technical opinion, and deadlines. These three are so fundamental among our kind of work that they become basis of how to earn the trust of other engineers.
Some may think that it’s hard to earn the trust of engineers. Simply follow these pointers and you’re all good:
Learn your thing. If you just show that you put in effort to understand the whereabouts of your job without overdoing it, you will be appreciated by your co-engineers.
Of course there will always be new things that you will learn about your job, which is why you should never stop being obsessed of how such things work or operate. Doing this will earn you major points and be given an advantage over those who lack the enthusiasm to learn.
Respect other engineers’ time. Never make them wait. Write shorter e-mails. Do not disturb others when they show an intense focus with what they do. Ask only during their vacant times.
All these should be basic etiquette for everyone: respecting others’ time. Once you share any moment together, make sure it is worthwhile or productive. You do not know how precious time for others is.
Prepare your inquiries. Whenever you ask for help from your co-engineers, be prepared with these details so it could easily be solved: what’s going on and what should be happening.
Make a framework of the problem in your mind – better if you write it – so you can get the solution head on from others. It’s not bad to ask questions. Just do so intelligently.
Ask questions that pique other engineers’ interests. True engineers really like to solve puzzles that are challenging enough but fairly easy to engage with.
When engineers are faced with uninteresting and too difficult questions, they are most likely not inclined to answer that. Worse, you will not be given the same attention in future inquiries.
Make them believe that they are smart – engineers, in general, are indeed smart, but they have to know that you know about it. Get it?
Provide pointed questions and answers. Engineers want the best outcomes for projects, even if it comes from new people. When you know better solutions that you, a newbie, can provide, tell the group. They don’t mind some healthy competition.
You can also challenge other approaches by poking holes in whatever they are proposing. This will make them think that you are for providing the most refined answer across many possibilities. Everyone will be impressed. This will not only help you with earning their trust, but also in advancing your career.
Get along with other engineers like they are just normal people. Do not make the mistake of treating your co-workers as only engineers at work, as if they are robots.
You could always earn their trust by knowing them on a personal level outside of work. Appreciate what they do and let them know about it. It becomes easy for them to trust you when they know that you fully trust them.
The reality, however, is that there will always be engineers that won’t give you their trust no matter how you prove that you deserve it. The best you could do is still try.
Instead, focus on what you can gain from doing a thing or two in the pointers: a good working relationship with your co-engineers founded on trust. You want that. Everyone wants that. Trust me, I’m an engineer.