Throughout my engineering career, I've had the privilege of leading many talented people, and working on many challenging projects. Along the way, I've learned valuable leadership lessons that have formed my approach to management and (hopefully!) helped me become a more effective leader. In this post, I'll share my top 5 leadership lessons learned, hoping they can inspire and guide others on their journey.
- Trust and Transparency
Creating an environment where everyone can be their authentic selves is crucial for building strong, high-performing teams. It's essential to foster trust and transparency by being open about your challenges, decision-making processes, and expectation on what good looks like. Encourage open communication and provide regular opportunities for feedback and discussion. By demonstrating honesty and vulnerability, you'll create a culture where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and aspirations.
- Accountability for Your Team
As a leader, it's your responsibility to create a culture of accountability within your team. Set clear expectations, establish measurable goals, and hold your team members accountable for their performance. At the same time, be prepared to take responsibility for your team's overall performance and address any issues that arise. By promoting a culture of accountability, you'll empower your team members to take ownership of their work and strive for continuous improvement.
- Lead with Empathy
Empathy is a vital skill that allows you to understand and connect with your team members on a deeper level and better build relationships. By leading with empathy, you can more effectively address their needs, concerns, and motivations, resulting in a more engaged and committed team. Make an effort to listen actively and provide support when needed, while also considering the individual personalities of your team members when making decisions.
- Develop Your Own Leadership Style
It's important to recognize that every leader is different, and trying to emulate or compare yourself to someone else's leadership style may not be useful. Instead, focus on developing your unique leadership style by identifying your strengths and areas for improvement, and seeking feedback from your team and mentors whereever possible. Embrace your individuality and find a leadership style that resonates with your personality and values.
- Hire People Better Than You
Leaders don't need to be the best at everything; instead, they focus on assembling a team of experts who excel in their respective areas. By hiring people who are more skilled or experienced in specific aspects of your work, you'll create a diverse and highly capable team that can tackle any challenge. Having a team of exceptional individuals will also inspire you to keep learning and growing as a leader.
Becoming an effective engineering leader is a journey of continuous learning and growth. By embracing these five leadership lessons, you'll not only become a better leader, but also create an environment where your team can thrive and achieve remarkable success. Remember, great leadership isn't about being perfect, it's about nurturing the talents and potential of those around you, while also staying true to your own values and growth.