When we follow up with engineering candidates we’ve placed to ensure they are satisfied with their jobs, we often hear the same thing: their manager is a driving force behind their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Through this exercise, we have learned that while good managers in every industry carry the same traits (good communicators, ability to manage a team, capable of making solid decisions, etc.), a GREAT manager, especially in engineering, understands how to effectively use their skills to motivate their team and do what it takes to get the job done to meet the company’s goals. How do great managers do this? Here’s what we found out! Great managers will possess many of these traits –
- The ability to coach and mentor other engineers. Mentoring and coaching is not for everyone; it requires a certain level of compassion, patience, and respect for the team in order to share constructive criticism, as well as a dedication to one’s craft.
- Strong technical knowledge (typically 7-10+ years of experience in engineering) and people skills that can be used as a resource to the other engineers on the team.
- The ability to recognize and utilize the strengths of each person on the team. Some engineers excel in creative, outside-the-box thinking and design, while others excel at documentation. A great manager can recognize these differences, hire the right people, and delegate project tasks based on the strength of each individual.
- Solid presentation skills. Engineering managers need presentation skills to show internal stakeholders and clients that their team is producing what is expected of them, within budget and quality guidelines, and within the required timeframe.
- The ability to challenge employees. Challenging engineers to work outside of their areas of expertise allows them to the ability to grow, which is immensely important to most engineers.
- Hands-off management. Great managers give their teams direction and support but permit their teams to work autonomously and problem solve to do what they do best.
- Strong communication skills that allow a manager the ability to give his or her team clear guidelines for each project so that expectations are properly set and effectively report the team’s progress to senior management and clients.
- Project management across several departments. One engineering team may be tasked with, say, designing and building an engine, but the parts for that project come from another department. The total assembly and delivery of the final product is handled by yet another department. The manager needs to be able to build a good rapport and work well with cross-functional teams to successfully bring a project to its true completion.
- The ability to budget. An engineering manager needs to be able to manage a budget in order to keep costs in line and reduce spend while maintaining high quality and happy clients.
- Recognize and provide the tools necessary to allow the team to produce the desired end-product, whether that means upgraded software or hardware or removing any roadblocks to progress so the team can focus on the task at hand.
These skills are important to recognize both for those striving for a career in management and for candidates who are searching for the ideal manager. A great manager not only encourages their team to build upon their strengths and improve, they do the same for themselves. Leddy Group has a strong history of connecting our candidates with engineering opportunities that have allowed for growth and development – making a great fit for our candidates and clients. If you’re in the engineering field and ready to explore new opportunities, we understand where you want to be and can help you get there. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Kendra at 603-766-2004.