I’m not saying engineers can’t lead people, but the bottom line is engineering is logical, people are not. Management is also more about logic, i.e. budgets, resources, ROI, where leadership is more about emotions, trust and respect – you don’t think trust, you feel trust.
So what do YOU need to do to be more successful as a leader not just a manager?
Consider the following:
You might be your team’s manager, but would your team vote for you as their leader? Titles mean nothing when it comes to leadership.
When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror? Do you really know the impact you are having on your team?
Note: At the risk of over generalising and offending a whole group of engineers, I will point out before I start that these observations are not meant as judgements and are based on all the wonderful engineers and asset management professionals I’ve worked with over the past 20 years.
Engineers and Asset Management professionals are generally very process oriented, data driven and logical. They are usually confident of their decisions because they are backed up by quality data. While these are all great characteristics, they’re not necessarily characteristics that develop good relationships.
I often see highly technically proficient people being singled out for their excellent work and suddenly given a team to manage. The organisation will say, “Actually, you’re very competent at this process, so therefore we are promoting you to be the team leader.” Immediately the skillset required changes completely. Those highly technical skills honed over many years have to be shifted towards people skills – understanding a group of people who each have different motivations, personalities and egos.
- The real challenge is that people no longer want to be ‘managed’
- People want good leadership. Do you know the difference between ‘managing’ & ‘leading’?
- You might be your team’s manager, but would they vote for you as their leader?
Here are four questions that will dictate your personal, leadership and team effectiveness.
1. Why does your leadership style work with some people but not with others?
- When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror?
- Do you understand the impact you have on your team members and colleagues.?
- Are you a bridge ‘burner’ or a bridge ‘builder’? This is where the name of our organisation, Bridgeworks, originated. Exploring how well you build bridges with people.
It takes courage to look in the leadership mirror, but then again leadership is about courage. Those that need to look in the mirror the most, resist the most.
One process we use is called ‘How Others See Me’. It’s not like the classic 360 feedback tool, which measures what you do. How Others See Me measures more who you are – your behaviour, your attitudes, how you build trust and your interpersonal effectiveness.
2. Have you thought about what motivates you, compared to what motivates your staff, family, others?
- Do you understand that you can only motivate yourself, but you can influence others – positively or negatively?
- We are not talking about ‘rah-rah’ extrinsic motivation more intrinsic motivation – what gets you out of bed in the morning.
- What drives you, what drives your team, what drives your teenage kids!!
Dr William Marston back in the 1920s wrote a book called Emotions of Normal People. He was fascinated at how people behave differently, and in particular how the Greeks 2,000 years ago went about classifying behaviour. If you were a direct, confident, strong-willed person, you were called ‘choleric’, whereas if you were someone that’s more laid-back and ‘She’ll be right mate’ you were seen as more ‘phlegmatic’.
In the 1960s Dr John Geier, developed the ‘DISC profile’ based on Dr Marston’s principles. Since then over 50 million people globally have used DISC to help them understand why people do what they do. We will be exploring this tool during my session at Mainstream Conference.
3. Do you understand the real difference between management and leadership?
You manage ‘things’ but you lead ‘people’. Both are important – a job or project has to be done, but people need to be engaged in the process.
How well do you engage others?
As mentioned earlier management is more about logic, where as leadership is more about emotions. In your past have you worked in what you considered was a good job but with a poor leader? Their technical skills and process was excellent but people skills lacking. I’m sure this environment didn’t get the best out of you.
4. Do you understand why being trustworthy does not always build trust?
Do understand that people build trust differently? What are your strengths and weaknesses in building trust?
Many people in senior management roles assume their role makes them a leader.
Leadership has nothing to do with your management title, the size of your office or even your MBA.
IQ does not correlate with emotional intelligence (EQ). Leadership is an EQ skill and it should be seen as a ‘special gift’ from your ‘followers’ based on trust and respect, not position power or formal appointments.
You may believe that you are ‘trustworthy’, but why is it that some may NOT trust you?
To simplify ‘How to build trust’ we will be working through a powerful model – ‘The 4 Elements of Trust’. This provides a logical system in understanding how best to build trust with others. Elements include; straightforwardness, openness, reliability and acceptance. We all have a preference for certain elements.
Ask yourself these simple 4 questions above. Quality leaders continually do this. They are prepared to learn, be more open to change and be able to build a climate of trust and respect with their teams. Their leadership harnesses the best from their teams and stakeholders.
Isn’t that what we all want?
You can hear more from Wayne Dyson at Mainstream Conferencein March 2017. Join him for a 2.5 hour interactive workshop “Engineering is Logical, People Are Illogical” – People Skills for Engineering Managers” to discover a logical, practical, easy to use system to understand yourself and others you work with.
About the Author
Wayne Dyson is Director of Bridgeworks, partnering with business to define or refine culture through smart leadership development. He has vast experience in challenging people’s mindsets around their leadership, team and communication effectiveness.