Can You be a Good Manager of Engineers?

Provided by: NSPE - PE Scope

There might be a crucial element missing from the current engineering curriculum: management. Many engineers in the real world end up in roles where they must manage other engineers. The traditional undergraduate engineering setting, however, provides limited opportunities to develop management skills. The November/December issue of PE offered a list of resources that can help PEs improve their managerial skills from professional engineers with experience as managers.

NSPE member John Stolpe, P.E., also provided the following 10 tips for enhancing performance management:

  1. Have regular one-on-one meetings with your employees to touch base on performance issues and other business and nonbusiness items.
  2. Set performance targets that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
  3. Sit down with employees once a quarter to review their progress in achieving their targets.
  4. Get feedback from other managers and supervisors regarding the performance of your team members.
  5. Take time to write an honest and detailed evaluation for team members.
  6. Meet with employees to review results and give them feedback.
  7. Make sure you praise your team members for the good things they have done throughout the year.
  8. Create a development plan to correct team member performance issues.
  9. Discuss career progression essentials and help employees plan for their future goals.
  10. Keep up with the process and repeat the steps year after year.

Books and Podcasts to Enhance Your Leadership Skills:
Recommended by John Stolpe, P.E., and Stuart Walesh, P.E.

  • QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller
  • Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Done Right by Atul Gawande
  • Engineering Legends: Great American Civil Engineers by Richard Weingardt
  • Answers From Leadership podcast with Joe Lalonde
  • Read to Lead podcast with Jeff Brown
  • Bregman Leadership podcast with Peter Bregman
  • Leader to Leader podcast with Mark Slemons

If you're an NSPE member, log in and read the “Taking the Managerial Plunge” In Focus article.