What attributes make a good Engineering manager?
Successful managers are able to apply a combination of supervisory and technical skills to the direction and eventual conclusion of complex projects. This invariably demands that they are able to able to work well within teams and have the strength of character to lead a team or group of engineers who may come from a range of different disciplines.
For instance, a manager could typically find themselves managing a team of mechanical, electrical and systems engineers within the defence sector. To do this effectively requires all-round project management skills.
And the success or failure of a project will largely rest upon the manager’s knowledge and understanding of how various disciplines operate separately, and together.
Managing a diverse team can be challenging and one of the attributes that a good manager must possess is the ability to communicate the objective of the project to their team.
Given the complex nature of the industry, managers need to provide clear and concise instructions to ensure that all team members are working towards the same goal with the aim of completing it on time and within budget.
You need to be aware that not every type of person absorbs information in the same way - some like to see graphs, facts and figures, some need to hear concepts and creative options. It’s up to you to decide what information to give to which people so they can understand the required actions and work together to reach an end goal.
All companies aim to keep costs to a minimum and managers are charged with the responsibility for maximising the use of resources – personnel, goods and services – required to meet the expected outcome of a project. An understanding of the business needs of the organisation and recognition of the role you play within it are prerequisites.
Managers will often find themselves overseeing more than one project at the same time – each with its own demands and requirements. Therefore, an ability to keep your cool when the going gets tough, manage your time effectively and prioritise tasks will stand you in good stead as a manager.
So if you are looking to move into a management role for the first time and are unfamiliar with what some of your colleagues do in other areas of the business, or lack some of the basic skills that you will need, for example, then do some research into other areas of engineering and find out what training opportunities exists in your company.
Remember, the more you know of what will be expected of you in your new role, the stronger candidate you become.