So you are ready to become an engineering manager but you don’t know how to make the next step up the career ladder. It’s a problem faced by lots of professionals, especially in engineering. And while you can’t just will a promotion into being, there are steps you can take to move up faster:
Cultivate Your Integrity
There is the mistaken belief that people move into management positions because they are cutthroat and unscrupulous. In fact, integrity is much more important, both for succeeding as a manager and also for attracting the attention of decision makers. In everything you do, show yourself to be someone that can be trusted.
Preserve Your Reputation
You might have been a great engineer for years, but if your reputation is defined by one instance of failure, embarrassment, or misconduct, you will have a hard time moving into management. Keep in mind that many promotions are awarded based as much on a person’s image as their actual character. From the very earliest stages in your career, do everything possible to keep your reputation sterling.
Demonstrate Your Passion
Mangers serve as a role model for everyone on their team. That is why passion is such an important characteristic for managers to possess. After all, who wants to be lead by a person who dreads the kind of work they do? As much as possible, focus on the projects that you really care about, and make sure your enthusiasm, drive, and commitment to excellence shines though in the results that you produce.
Develop Your People Skills
Engineers rely on technical skills while managers rely more heavily on people skills. Switching your focus from one to the other is a challenge, but if you can’t work well with people – all people – you can’t hope to move into management. There are classes, counselors, and references all designed to help you develop your people skills, particularly in the context of management.
Learn to Listen
Managers have to lead, but it’s just as important for them to listen. In fact, if they move forward without soaking up as much input as possible from the people around them they are often doomed to fail. Evaluate your own listening skills, and then make a plan to get better at listening. As you develop a reputation for seeking out different perspectives and considering all sides carefully you will begin to bolster your management credentials.
If you are ready to be more proactive about your career journey there are resources that can help you right now. Have a conversation about employment in Pittsburgh and other areas with an expert from JH Technical Services