Engineering is not for the faint-hearted. It is considered one of the most challenging career choices of the lot. The students who wish to excel in this field need to have a particular range of skill sets. Apart from their complex curriculum, engineers also have to specialize in technical skills. The nature of their job demands excellent problem-solving, analytical skills, tactical abilities, and critical thinking. It enables them to complete their tasks and projects and achieve a level of reliability. All this demands teamwork and cooperation among different team members.
In engineering projects, a team leader works no differently than they would in a non-engineering project. Yet, like with every team, a leader is also crucial for the optimum working of an engineering team. Leadership in engineering opens up a new pathway for engineers to add value to their projects. Overall, engineers must work towards developing strong leadership qualities for career growth and opportunities. It enables them to attain managerial level roles and be more in control of their projects. They get to take vital decisions which further empower them.
There are multiple ways an engineer can earn a leadership role. The top, however, remains to display leadership qualities and get adequate qualifications such as a mem degree. Getting an advanced degree like a Master in Engineering Management helps better advance your engineering and management skills. So, if you plan on pursuing a leadership role at an engineering firm, you may need to enhance these qualities.
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6 Qualities that are a must-have for every engineering manager
1. Excellent communication skills
This is a quality that every project leader needs to have regardless of their field. It is valid for engineering managers as well. A typical day in the life of an engineer includes communicating with all kinds of people, including CEOs, managers, laborers, and clients. Furthermore, engineers need to develop excellent writing skills to write reports and make presentations effectively.
This skill may seem intimidating to many, especially to people who are not natural leaders. However, it is not something you cannot improve. In fact, with a bit of practice, you can master it. Getting professional coaching can help you in this area.
2. Delegation of power
A leader knows when to delegate power. Keeping everything to yourself at times may seem like a smart move. However, a true leader knows that delegation of power is essential to get more work done faster. It helps when you know which of your teammates are skilled and reliable. Additionally, when you delegate authority to your subordinates, you allow them to grow, ultimately motivating individuals to work better.
3. Risk management
Management is not only about giving commands and having authority. A leader needs to oversee the project from start to finish and map out every step for the rest of the team. To quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility as well. An engineer’s role includes making both short and long-term risk management projections. Tasks like recruiting new staff or division of resources involve taking calculated risks for the company’s betterment.
An engineer in a managerial role controls things like budgeting and allocation of resources. Still, they also need to ensure timely deliveries. And, in case of any problems, the managers are to take the entire responsibility.
4. Decision making
Engineering is not necessarily a black and white field. There are sometimes tough choices to make. The engineering managers need to assess their situations. They sometimes have to make tough decisions like delaying the project by a few weeks or even months for better quality.
They may have to withdraw from certain projects considering their societal, environmental, and economic impact. These choices are tough to make, but a true leader never hesitates from making such decisions.
5. Problem Solving
Problem-solving is critical in our daily lives. Every day we face challenges that we need to overcome. Once you are in a leadership role, you face immense pressure. Your decisions not only impact you but will also affect the functioning of an entire engineering project. Therefore, tackling problems from different perspectives and opting for smart solutions is essential to becoming a successful leader.
Engineers have excellent analytical skills that help them innovate and develop cost-effective solutions, supersede competitors and resonate with all the stakeholders involved. This allows engineering firms to deliver state-of-the-art products and services and introduce advanced problem-solving techniques in the field.
6. Technical knowledge
Technical knowledge regarding the engineering field is a prerequisite to becoming an engineering leader. One needs to be aware of the engineering procedures and technologies that must be applied in projects. Otherwise, it may be difficult to supervise an engineering project that includes technical stuff like coding and other complex methodologies.
If you are a high school student who plans to pursue a career as an engineering leader, you may start with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Engineering. You can later enroll in a management course or a master’s in management course to acquire a leadership role in the engineering field.
If you want to pursue a career in engineering management, you must develop the necessary skills. As an engineer manager, you will be a bridge between your team and your client. It will take hands-on experience along with appropriate qualifications to master the craft.
However, with time and will, everything is attainable. No matter where you are in your career, keep growing and learning. It will benefit you, your team as well as your company.
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