Sandi Hokansson, a WXN TOP 100 Women Award winner, successful C-level executive and Great Place to Work champion, now runs a successful Leadership Coaching practice at www.soundleadership.ca
Many times, career advancement in the engineering field comes with leading even greater numbers of people and as an engineering professional, you may not readily see this as your strength. You can easily demonstrate the core strengths common to most successful engineers, namely; a desire to figure things out, applied creativity, math skills, mechanical skills, teamwork and problem-solving skills. However, when it comes to softer skills such as advanced interpersonal skills, social and emotional intelligence, and, employee engagement leadership, you may feel you are out of your depth. You rely on your knowledge and expertise as your main contribution to your team and wonder — how can I add more value to my team?
A good starting point is to review the most common expectations employees have of their leaders. If you can deliver in these areas, you will be well on your way to adding more value to your team and stepping up as a leader.
There are four main expectations that employees have of their leaders that easily resonate with all of us. Employees expect to be:
- Kept informed
- Asked for input and have a voice
- Recognized when their performance warrants it
- Given the opportunity to grow and learn
Tips to advance your commitment in these areas
- Regular communication with your team — keep them informed even if it’s to say that you don’t have any further information at that time.
- Set up formal and informal communication channels to seek employee input. You can clarify and set boundaries on who has ownership and input on what — the key is to give employees as much input as possible, in the areas you can.
- Frequent recognition of individuals and teams for their contributions. You can inject a lot of energy and creativity into this one — have fun with it!
- Create a space that fosters an opportunity to grow, give stretch assignments. Don’t forget to share your own career/leadership journey as well. Personal stories help others to see how they too can achieve career progression.
It’s true there is a lot of pressure on leaders today — pressure to be all things to all people and accessible all the time. Thankfully, it’s not realistic nor necessary to live up to this. You can however round out your leadership competencies and augment your professional inherent strengths, by making a commitment to deliver on these top four employee expectations. Employee engagement and morale will improve, and you will become a talent magnet because you will be providing key leadership in the areas employees want. Before you know it, you will be seen as having stronger interpersonal skills and greater emotional intelligence because you put employees’ expectations first.
For further reading on Successful Engineers, here is a great article from www.interestingengineering.com https://interestingengineering.com/personality-traits-successful-engineers
For other thoughts on leadership, visit https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/listening-your-employees-key-building-great-place-work-hokansson/
If you are interested in Leadership Coaching to support your leadership journey, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org