Congratulations on your new promotion to brand new Engineering Manager (EM)!
While you’re excited to lead your engineering team, you may also be feeling a bit of pressure, especially if you’re managing experienced engineers. After all, they have more experience than you, and they may be wondering why you’re now their boss.
Here are some tips for managing senior and staff engineers when you’re a new engineering manager:
Build trust and respect
This is essential for any manager-employee relationship, but it’s especially important when you’re managing someone who has more experience than you. Show your team members that you value their expertise and that you’re committed to helping them succeed.
- Get to know them individually. Take the time to have one-on-one meetings with each of your team members to get to know them on a personal level. Ask them about their career goals, their interests, and their strengths and weaknesses.
- Be honest and transparent. Be honest with your team members about your expectations and your goals. Be transparent about the challenges that the team is facing and the decisions that you’re making.
- Be open to feedback. Encourage your team members to share their feedback with you, both positive and negative. Be willing to listen to their concerns and to make changes based on their feedback.
- Give them credit where credit is due. When your team members achieve success, be sure to give them credit. This shows them that you appreciate their hard work and that you’re invested in their success.
Giving them autonomy
Experienced engineers are used to working independently, so don’t micromanage them. As new engineering manager you should give them the freedom to do their jobs the way they know best. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t set clear goals and expectations, or that you shouldn’t be available to provide support and guidance. But it does mean that you should trust them to get the job done.
Here are some tips for giving your team members more autonomy:
- Set clear goals and expectations. Before you assign a task to a team member, make sure that you have clearly defined the goals and expectations. This will help them to understand what you need them to achieve and how you’ll be measuring their success.
- Provide them with the resources they need. Make sure that your team members have the resources they need to be successful. This could include things like training, funding, and access to equipment and tools.
- Get out of their way. Once you’ve assigned a task to a team member, trust them to get it done. Don’t micromanage them or second-guess their decisions.
- Check in regularly, but don’t micromanage. It’s important to check in with your team members regularly to see how they’re doing and to offer support and guidance. However, be careful not to micromanage them. Trust them to get the job done and only intervene if they need help.
Being open to feedback
Experienced engineers can teach you a lot, so be open to their feedback. Encourage them to share their ideas and suggestions, and be willing to change your approach if necessary.
Here are some tips for being more open to feedback:
- Ask for feedback. Don’t wait for your team members to come to you with feedback. Ask them for it directly. You can do this in one-on-one meetings, engineering team meetings, or through surveys. Feedback is a gift for every engineering manager.
- Be receptive to feedback. When your team members give you feedback, be receptive to it. Don’t get defensive or try to argue with them. Instead, listen to what they have to say and consider their feedback carefully.
- Act on feedback. If you receive feedback from your team members, be sure to act on it. This shows them that you value their feedback and that you’re committed to making improvements.
Experienced engineers need to be challenged in order to grow and develop. Whether you are new manager or an experienced on, do not be afraid to give them tough assignments or to push them outside of their comfort zone.
Here are some tips for challenging your team members:
- Give them assignments that are aligned with their career goals. When assigning tasks to your team members, try to give them assignments that are aligned with their career goals. This will help them to stay motivated and engaged in their work.
- Encourage them to take on new challenges. If you see that a team member is capable of more, encourage them to take on new challenges. This could involve giving them a more complex project to work on or asking
Following these tips can help you build strong relationships with your team members and create a productive and successful team.
Additional tips for Engineering Managers
Here are some additional tips that you can use to in your day-to-day interaction with senior and staff engineers
- Provide opportunities for growth and development. Help your team members stay ahead of the curve by providing them with opportunities for growth and development. This could include sending them to conferences or workshops, or giving them the chance to lead new projects.
- Be a mentor and coach. Experienced engineers can still learn and grow, so be a mentor and coach to them. Share your knowledge and experience with them, and help them to develop their skills and abilities.
- Celebrate their successes. When your team members achieve success, be sure to celebrate with them. This shows them that you appreciate their hard work and that you’re invested in their success.
- Take care of yourself. It’s important to take care of yourself when you’re managing staff engineers. This means setting boundaries, managing your stress levels, and getting enough sleep. When you’re taking care of yourself, you’ll be better able to support your team members and lead your team to success.
What are some of the tactics and communication styles you have seen working well with Senior/Staff Engineers in your career? Comment below.