Agile Development Leadership

Consulting. Training. Coaching.

There’s No Escaping Leadership

By Gary C. Hinkle

After graduating from college, Eric’s first week on the job as an engineer presented several leadership and management challenges— but he didn’t realize at the time that’s what they were. He was just getting the work done that he was told to do, just ordinary assignments for an entry-level engineer…or so he thought.

Eric was asked to assist the lead engineer with the testing of a new product. However, a closer look at his tasks that first week reveals aspects of engineering work that are very much leadership- and management-oriented:

Negotiating with manufacturing for delivery of test units

Planning the flow of test units through the engineering lab

Influencing external resources—that is, persuading them to get done quickly

Directing technicians, instructing them how to follow test procedures

Estimating time to complete tasks

Resolving conflicts that were impeding progress

The lead engineer supported Eric’s work, as did his manager and other senior staff members. While the senior engineers took on difficult issues Eric encountered, he was accountable for the all the responsibilities described above.

Skills such as negotiating, planning and influencing are leadership and management competencies. The technical skills that an engineer’s job requires make up an important but small percentage of the abilities an engineer needs for professional success. Interpersonal competencies, business acumen—and, yes, leadership and management skills—are all required in engineering work. As engineers advance in the profession, whether or not they’re headed into management, leadership and management competencies become even more important.

Leadership vs. Management

I’ve been talking about “leadership and management” together here, but they’re not the same. Leaders often are visionary and are good at inspiring others to share the vision. They communicate well, understand where others “are coming from,” are adaptable, and able to build consensus. They’re often good at assessing—and taking—risks, and making sure others are prepared to act. Managers, meanwhile, keep work organized, on track and efficient. In the words of Warren Bennis in his book On Becoming a Leader, leaders focus “on the horizon” while managers keep their eye “on the bottom line.” Managers “accept the status quo” while leaders challenge it. Managers “do things right”; leaders “do the right things.” Both are needed.

Many competencies are required for successful management of work, and people serving in management roles need to be especially good at:

Organizing

It is better if it can be tadalafil 20mg taken empty stomach as it helps with more benefit although a lighter meal is also recommended. The turbocharge in the defeating circulate aids pure recovering in sticking with levitra online penile enhancement hardness and often more erection. Good looking pump in Rawalpindi is made with simple outline which does not stop it from being exceptionally effective. ordering viagra from india So if you feel the development of any such tendencies in your health then your physician will prescribe lowest cost viagra you with the proper dosage to grab the best outputs.

Planning

Estimating

Communicating / Documenting

Prioritizing

When managing people is involved, resolving conflict, mentoring and coaching others are also essential.

Just staying sharp technically is challenging for most engineers, because technology is complex and it changes constantly and rapidly. Adding leadership and management responsibilities to that can be a lot to ask. Many tech companies expect superhuman job performance—leading complex projects and performing technical work. Tech managers must manage, lead, and continue to be technically proficient, but it’s unrealistic to expect a high level of performance as both an individual contributor and a leader to continue indefinitely.

The solution isn’t to hire superhuman employees, nor is it to expect that the current employees fit the superhuman profile. The way to do it is to:

1) Develop engineers’ leadership potential and

2) Distribute the workload responsibilities.

How to Distribute Responsibilities

Managers who understand the leadership and management competencies needed to execute effectively can delegate some of these responsibilities. Team members should be open and honest about how interested they are—and how prepared they are—to take on those responsibilities. Engineers need to keep in mind, however, that some aspects of leadership and management are part of their job, so saying “no” to these responsibilities is not really an option. What is an option is to develop the specific leadership and management characteristics they will need in their engineering roles.

When managers delegate leadership and management responsibilities, they should listen to any issues and concerns and make appropriate adjustments. Sometimes negotiation is necessary — and, of course, negotiating is yet another leadership competency!

If your job description sounds anything like Eric’s, leading and managing is an important part of your job every day. That’s why effective, career-focused engineers make it a priority to develop and improve their leadership and management skills, and engineering managers in successfully-led organizations make it a priority, too.

Share this post

Share this post

Resources

Agile for Hardware Overview

A MAHD Overview

The four-page overview provides a quick summary of the MAHD Framework, benefits and unique attributes.

More Articles

Contact us to schedule a complimentary discussion of your situation.

With So Many Choices, Why Auxilium?

Five Reasons...

Practical, Proven Tools and Methods

Every method and tool we provide, with either a training or consulting program, has been proven in real-world projects.

Live, Experienced Consultants

You'll work directly with senior consultants who have over 20 years of PD experience. No inexperienced trainers or fresh MBA's.

Cost Effective

As a virtual team with low overhead, you'll get the experience of a tier one consultancy group at a fraction of typical fees.

Concise, Comprehensive Programs

We focus every training or consulting program on the essential skills and implementation to get immediate results.

A Passion for Results

We understand the risk and expense of getting outside help. Our goal is to ensure you get the results you need.

Contact us to schedule a complimentary discussion of your situation.