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  • 1.  Managing More Experienced Engineers

    Posted 09-05-2019 05:34 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-05-2019 05:33 PM
    Another issue raised by the young leadership group is:  How best to manage more experienced (and likely older) engineers. Here are my thoughts? 

    It is is not uncommon for a younger engineer to be placed in a leadership role, say project or program manager.  Usually this means supervising the work and/or schedules of older, more experienced engineers and designers. I have experienced this in my career. Their are two words that sum up my advice:  HUMILITY and COMMUNICATION. 

    The humility piece is recognizing that you will need the help of the entire team for your firm/organization to be successful.  Recognize that it is the experienced engineers, designers and IT people who know how to get things done. Don't pretend to know everything and never act in an arrogant or condescending manner. Always make it clear that you are available 24/7 and open to suggestion from every team member. I learned this in the Army as a Second Lieutenant (Butterbar) platoon leader.  While I was technically in charge, it is the NCO's that get things done and motivate the privates. I respected them, was open to their suggestions,  and while I made the important decisions it was always with their input. 

    Now on to communication. The kick off meeting is where it starts. Describe the project to the entire team and discuss each individual's role. Do this in an interactive manner. It is possible that experienced personnel will make suggestions that will help you organize the project better. Routine project meetings should be mandatory. Even if some people have to Skype in.  Ask each member to present what has been done, successes as well as obstacles. Invite the team to praise the presenter and/or to discuss solutions to challenges. You must make your own decisions, even if they might differ somewhat from the group suggestions, but at least you have given them respect. 

    Never, ever criticize or scold any team member in front of the group. Always do this face to face, and start out with positive statements about the person. How important their work is to the project. Express disappointment in their progress and ask them what problems are causing the issue.  Encourage them to get on the ball while reminding them again how important their work is to the project. 

    I end with strong advice that when praise comes from higher up, give the team the credit, to them and management. Throw a party and invite the bosses. Do a roast or otherwise keep it fun. Give out a couple of plaques to those whose work was indispensable. When experienced workers feel that their manager is taking all the credit, they'll never give you 100% again. 

    Anyone else have suggestions?

    Bevin Beaudet P.E., M.ASCE
    Bevin A. Beaudet, P.E., LLC.
    West Palm Beach FL

  • 2.  RE: Managing More Experienced Engineers

    Posted 09-06-2019 07:48 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-06-2019 07:48 AM
    Bevin - we did a short video on managing engineers of different experience levels, hope it helps:

    How to Manage Engineers with Different Experience Levels
    YouTube remove preview
    How to Manage Engineers with Different Experience Levels
    In this #EngineeringManager 80/20 Shorts video, Anthony Fasano, PE of the Engineering Management Institute talks to Tracy Bratton, PE. who is the Land Development Division Manager at Doucet & Associates, based in Austin Texas. Tracy provides some great insights on how you can manage an engineering team with different experience levels.
    View this on YouTube >

    Anthony Fasano P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineering Management Institute
    Ridgewood NJ