Former IBM Technology Executive Shares Advice on Becoming a Successful Engineering Leader

Have you ever addressed these questions as an engineering leader?

You begin with a small team of engineers, and as the firm expands, so does the team.

One of the key ways to ensure that production is not negatively impacted while undergoing changes is to ensure that clear communication is taking place between all team members. Additionally, it is important to create opportunities for team building activities, such as group lunches, team outings, and other activities that help build relationships between team members. To help new employees feel more included, try to assign them tasks and responsibilities that are tailored to their skills and abilities. Additionally, make sure to provide feedback and recognition to new employees, as this will help them feel like they are an important part of the team.

Most importantly, how do you go about becoming a great technical leader?

Aviv In this essay, ex-IBM Tech Exec Ben Yosef addresses all of the aforementioned questions.

  1. The WIFM for their team will be determined by a fantastic engineering leader.

    Yosef claims he constantly considers the WIFM, or What’s In For Me, while making adjustments to his company.

    As an engineering leader, you must constantly ensure that your team knows how the proposed change would benefit them.

    Remember that no IT executive should alter an established procedure unless it is helpful to the team and the organisation.

    So, go through the WIFM and have specific responses available for your engineers.
  2. Try to maintain talent while allowing for a healthy turnover.

    It is usually desirable for businesses to maintain a loyal and consistent workforce, yet Yosef suggests that engineering executives should not be afraid to embrace a certain level of turnover periodically. This could be beneficial in terms of bringing in fresh perspectives and ideas, and could potentially lead to improved efficiency and productivity within the organisation.
    Companies attempt to keep people from leaving by creating additional roles or task sets that the firm does not need.
    Yosef refers to these developments as corporate debt, which has an impact on the team and impedes production.
    He maintains that in such instances, letting some staff go and employing new ones might be advantageous.
    Yosef advocates for the recruitment of junior and mid-level engineers instead of senior engineers, as the latter may be hard to come by and more expensive to hire.
    Instead, he suggests that businesses recruit junior and medium-level engineers and teach them to the needed level.
  3. Try to understand your job in the firm as an engineering leader and emphasise responsibility.

    Yosef strongly encourages all aspiring engineering leaders and managers to delve deeper into the question of, “What is the purpose of my role within the organisation?” It is essential for new engineering leaders to understand their purpose and the impact they can have on their organisation as a whole. Such an understanding can help them to create meaningful strategies, set ambitious goals and foster a collaborative atmosphere that will benefit everyone.
    You should be explicit about the value you can offer the company. Yosef emphasises the importance of understanding the positive impact you can have and being transparent about your goals and aspirations. By recognising that you are capable of enhancing the organisation’s productivity and efficiency, you can demonstrate the value you can bring to the team.
    Yosef emphasises that true engineering leaders take accountability and responsibility for their actions, and are quick to recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of the team they lead. Whenever something remarkable is achieved, they take the time to credit their team members for their contributions, instead of solely taking the credit for themselves.
    However, if anything goes wrong, they can accept responsibility and steer the organisation in the proper path.
  4. Never undervalue one-on-one meetings.

    Yosef is a firm believer that one-on-one meetings should be at the top of the priority list for engineering leaders. He believes that these meetings are instrumental in helping team members to reach their full potential. By providing them with the opportunity to discuss their goals and challenges, it is possible for them to identify areas for improvement and develop strategies for success.
    “You must spend time in the people around you.” Growth is exceedingly difficult without constructive criticism and feedback,” Yosef continues.
    Joseph emphasises that one-on-one meetings should not be limited to the manager providing feedback to the employees. Leaders should actively listen to the staff members and strive to address any worries or apprehensions they might have.

So, what qualities distinguish an excellent engineering leader?

As an effective engineering leader, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the mission and operations of the organisation. They should be a source of inspiration and assurance to all members of the staff, exuding trust and faith in their abilities. Furthermore, they should have a firm grasp of the project they are responsible for, backed up by a team of experts, as well as their own considerable knowledge and experience.

The full article can be found here.

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