Expert Advice: On Leading a Team of Engineers
Florida Tech’s Extended Studies Division recently sponsored a white paper highlighting essential skills for leading a team of engineers. Leadership is more than management, and a successful leader can inspire the best from his/her team. Tips for success include:
1: Understand Your Team
Getting to know your team and learning about each member’s strengths and weaknesses will help you direct the right person to the right work for optimal success.
2: Understand Project Details
A foundation of engineering knowledge helps you understand the processes involved in a project and inspires respect from your team. Your ability to understand how and why tasks work will be key to your ability to direct your team toward the overall goal.
3: Don’t Micromanage.
One of the most difficult aspects of moving into a leadership position is transitioning from a task orientation to focusing on processes and workflows. Trust your team and empower them to work independently.
4: Be Flexible
Not every project goes smoothly. Learn to manage change well, and build in time to work with contingencies.
5: Focus on the Big Picture
Engineers often do task-oriented work. As a leader, you need to see how each task affects the overall project and keep progress on track. Focusing on the end goal helps you lead your team to success.
6: Communicate Well
Clear and concise communication ensures both your team and senior management understand what you are doing and why.