Skills that Make an Engineer a Successful Manager
Engineers are trained for specific technical skills and are generally competent with problem solving and analytical skills in their respective core domain areas.
Typical engineering routine activities focus on design and development of products and processes; project management; value engineering and analysis; technology development and applied R&D; production, manufacturing, construction; and customer service.
However, to move to the next level as a manger, they need to master a more comprehensive skillset to liaison between engineers and clients with superior communication skills and decision-making roles.
Engineering managers need to focus on project management, communication, delegation, decision making and foster technical expertise across departments.
Leadership, team empowerment, innovation and attention to detail are key traits and qualities engineering managers thrive on. Managing By Walking Around [MBWA] is a style of leadership practiced by engineering managers more often than their counterparts in other domains. The term originates with Bill Hewlett and David Packard, founders of Hewlett Packard (HP). They would wander around their business, talking to their staff, listening to them, showing them respect, and empowering them to do their best work.
At the same time, setting leaders apart from managers means to walk the extra mile to assure organisational harmony. The CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella has set the bar high by taking initiatives like hosting “Ask me anything” sessions with the employees and committing to being transparent and honest with them. Upon completion of his fourth year as the CEO, Nadella sent across a heartfelt email gaining the confidence on many of his subordinates. The Sr. Director of Cloud Security Engineering at Microsoft, Mekonnen Kassa, has expressed “Looking at the latest MSFT financial reports, I am reminded, once again, how Mr. Nadella’s leadership style, that I noted a year and half ago, is the most effective leadership style”.
Robert Katz identified three types of skills to make a manager effective: technical, human, and conceptual. Though engineers generally would have mastered the technical and conceptual skills, what makes an engineering manager excel is the mastery over human skills.
Some key soft skills that contribute towards making of a successful Engineering Manager, according to Sahil Jitesh, are:
The MBA and diploma certifications in Engineering Management, offered by Westford University College, provides students and professionals a pathway to acquiring the aforementioned skills and more. The courses and their lecturers go above and beyond to assure that core and advanced theories and practices in the field of Engineering Management are taught in the most effective learning formats.