Effective engineering managers facilitate communication between themselves and their team. Use these 5 tips to improve your team’s effectiveness.
Train on an Ongoing Basis
The challenges faced and discipline required to be a skilled engineer requires constant training. Bi-monthly training sessions won’t cut it. Consider weekly training to keep up with the ever changing engineering niche. Hold brown bag lunch training sessions, encouragement departments to share tutorials and coax outside professionals to share their wisdom with your engineers to expand your team’s knowledge base. Constant, effective training can put your engineers ahead of the curve in a competitive industry.
Only Take on Projects Your Staff Can Handle
Deliberate before taking on any project. Consult your staff to ensure that the project is within the scope of their expertise and will not overwhelm them. Embracing only projects which fit into your team’s schedule can help your group hit deadlines without taking on a heavier workload than necessary. It might feel enticing to take any project which flows down the pike but your ambition can influence your team to resent you.
Build a Results Oriented Culture
Efficiency and effectiveness trumps hard work. Lose the idea that hours worked demonstrates the willingness of your team to tackle a project. Focus on results to move your team away from a hard work mindset. Working intelligently, calmly and persistently trumps working mindlessly and endlessly. Engineers should be rewarded according to their results instead of the time they put into working on a project.
Do not set up a workweek longer than 40 hours. Employees tend to do home-related stuff at work if you force them to stay at work longer than 8 or so hours daily. Offer rewards for a job well done in a short amount of time. Create incentive-based goals to drive your team efficiency.
Avoid Micro Managing
Engineering is a demanding field. Most individuals are highly intelligent, driven people who do not need a manager breathing down their necks throughout the day. This approach almost always backfires because once you lose the trust of your team they will stop working hard for themselves and you. Let your team do its job. Successful engineering managers let their teams do its work.
Point the way, offer some advice and get out of the way to see optimal results. Resist the urge to micro manage your team through particularly challenging projects. Encourage your team to ask for help if someone is stuck on a task for longer than 20 or 30 minutes. Wheel-spinning does nobody good in this field. A little advice or suggestion from a fellow co-worker or engineering manager can facilitate creative thought.
Set Up Weekly One on One Sessions
Speak to each team member in a quiet setting once weekly to improve rapport, build trust and help your team achieve its goals. Employees who feel valued will work harder than people who are not allowed to let their voice be heard. Be an effective engineering manager by listening to and addressing any problems your team wishes to discuss.