Myths vs Truths of Engineering Management

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As a professional engineer, progressing into management might be the next logical career step. Management roles in engineering bring many benefits, such as being at the forefront of emerging technological changes and bridging the gap between senior management and professional engineers. However, many professional engineers find it difficult to filter through the high volume of information about Engineering Management to find which facts are accurate and which are merely assumptions. Take a look at the myths and truths listed below so you can make informed decisions about your management future.

Angry and extroverted manager face

Managers need to be aggressive and extroverts.

There’s a popular misconception that management favours aggressive, outgoing personalities. But the work often requires strategic vision and meticulous planning as well as people skills, so calm, considered types are often more successful managers. This is especially true in engineering, where managers need good technical skills and being extrovert is not necessarily the most successful management style. Being a leader involves inspiring your team to do better but having your team’s respect is important too.

Cog wheels

I’ll miss the technical side of the job.

Most Engineering Managers find that their job includes a mix of the hands-on, technical work they’ve always done, and more traditional managerial responsibilities. You don’t stop being an engineer when you become a manager. You just get a different perspective. Besides, you can leave the more mundane details to someone else.

It’ll be all spreadsheets and Gantt charts.

It’ll be all spreadsheets and Gantt charts.

No, it really won’t. You’ll find your working week much more varied than it used to be. Yes, there’s admin and planning, but there’s so much more to being a manager. One day you could be checking your Chief Engineer’s numbers. The next you might be planning a major infrastructure project. The following morning you could be boarding a plane for a conference in Madrid. Every day is a new challenge.

upward arrow and GBP sign showing increase in earning potential as a manager

The pay increase isn’t worth the stress.

You can expect to earn significantly more than you did as a specialised engineer, and once you’re in the management echelons, the prospects for advancement are essentially limitless. As a leader, you will also need to motivate and influence your staff, meaning increased productivity.

Yes, extra responsibility goes with the territory, but you’ll enjoy greater influence too.

Man climbing stairs

I’m not talented or experienced enough to be a manager.

If you want to change the world, there’s no better way to do it. As a leader in the engineering industry, you can direct your commitment and energy to solving the big problems. Renewable energy, global health, food supplies, cyber security – they all need urgent solutions. If you’ve got big ideas, you can help bring them to life as a leader in the engineering sector.

Cog with cross in the centre of it.

Being a manager is not as rewarding.

You can learn from the experience of others and draw on their wisdom. Success as a manager requires you to learn from experience and try something different next time if something goes wrong. This will enable you to hone your management skills and build on your technical skills to become an expert leader.

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