Expert Advice: On Leading a Team of Engineers

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Florida Tech’s Extended Studies Division recently sponsored a white paper highlighting essential skills for leading a team of engineers. Leadership is more than management, and a successful leader can inspire the best from his/her team. Tips for success include:

1: Understand Your Team

Getting to know your team and learning about each member’s strengths and weaknesses will help you direct the right person to the right work for optimal success.

2: Understand Project Details

A foundation of engineering knowledge helps you understand the processes involved in a project and inspires respect from your team. Your ability to understand how and why tasks work will be key to your ability to direct your team toward the overall goal.

3: Don’t Micromanage.

One of the most difficult aspects of moving into a leadership position is transitioning from a task orientation to focusing on processes and workflows. Trust your team and empower them to work independently.

4: Be Flexible
Not every project goes smoothly. Learn to manage change well, and build in time to work with contingencies.

5: Focus on the Big Picture

Engineers often do task-oriented work. As a leader, you need to see how each task affects the overall project and keep progress on track. Focusing on the end goal helps you lead your team to success.

6: Communicate Well

Clear and concise communication ensures both your team and senior management understand what you are doing and why.

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Christena Callahan is editor of Florida Tech Today magazine.

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