An engineering manager (otherwise known as a sustainability manager) has the responsibility of overseeing the environmental performance of public, voluntary and private sector companies. They work hard to see where improvements can be made, and they help organizations comply with environmental legislations.
Engineering managers in the environmental sector also:
- Create, monitor and implement strategies that promote sustainable development
- Oversee whole operations
- Carry out assessments
- Carry out audits
- Work to rectify problems
- Put any necessary changes in place
Working as an engineering manager in the environmental sector is an extremely popular but challenging career choice. If you’re a graduate who wants to make a difference through sustainability and environmental work, then this might be the perfect choice of career for you. Here are some of our top tips to help you succeed as an engineering manager in the environmental sector:
1. Technical Knowledge
Anyone wanting to progress in the green-energy and environmental sector will need outstanding technical knowledge. Technical knowledge is important for a number of reasons. It can boost your confidence, help you work more efficiently, and make you a more valuable candidate for employers. There are a number of technical skills all engineering managers need in order to excel in their job role, including having the ability to use data to make decisions.
Another, slightly less obvious reason why technical knowledge is important is that having technical knowledge can help you gain respect from your team. Employees who have an in-depth knowledge may struggle taking orders from someone who doesn’t understand their craft.
If you’re interested in a career as an engineering manager and you want to know more about the skills you need to become one, then click here. You can find out everything you need to know from the job expectations to why the job prospects are so good.
2. An Understanding of the Industry
If you want to succeed in the environmental sector, then you’ll need to have a good understanding of the industry, including:
- The current trends and characteristics
- Current issues around the world
Managers working in this sector need to be able to take this knowledge even further. They need to:
- Understand the wider business context
- Develop an in-depth understanding of global economics
- Understand global energy markets
No matter what type of manager you are, you will need good communication skills. Communication skills are arguably one of the most important skills for any leader to possess. A good leader will be able to communicate with their team through:
- Verbal communication
- Written communication
- The example they set
Not only do engineering managers need to be able to communicate with their employees, but they also need to be able to communicate effectively with their superiors and across other departments. This can help to make sure projects run smoothly and that all members of the team are contributing meaningfully along the way.
4. Knowing When to Stand Back
One of the trickiest parts of being an engineering manager is knowing when to stand back and allow your team to lead the way. In order for an engineering manager in the environmental sector to be successful, they will need to be able to spot when their input is needed and when it’s not.
Nothing will annoy your employees more than if you undermine them and treat them as if they don’t know what they’re doing. Watching your employees while they work and telling them how to do their job (unless they’re not doing it correctly) will not help you succeed as a leader. As long as they’re capable of completing their job without help, you should leave them to it. Doing so also helps to create a culture of accountability within the business. This is important because no manager can have complete control over what their team is doing. Sometimes micromanagement may be the way forward.
On the other hand, inexperienced employees may need you to guide and direct them. Supporting them in this way can help to build their confidence and expertise. In important situations, supporting your staff by offering them an extra pair or eyes and hands if they need it can help.
In order to succeed as an engineering manager, you need to be able to assess different situations, both in terms of the competence of the staff and the importance of the job being completed.
5. Stand Up for Your Beliefs
If you want to succeed in the environmental sector, then you need to be able to stand up for what you believe in. Most people don’t understand the full extent of the environmental issues we face in today’s society, so it’s important that you’re able to explain these issues in an easy to understand, clear fashion.
In order to progress in this industry, leaders need to be able to work together to come up with solutions to problems. The renewable energy industry faces a number of ongoing challenges for commitment and investments so leaders need to be able to come up with innovative and unique ways to meet a customer’s requirements without spending too much money.
Green energy is still a relatively new sector, so leaders in this sector need to be able to make a variety of decisions that don’t have a set answer. This means that leaders will have to come up with creative solutions and be able to approach problems in innovative ways.
Not only do managers need to be motivated themselves, but they also need to be able to maintain their employees’ motivation when things don’t go quite to plan. Employees will often lose motivation when:
- Projects aren’t successful
- Things don’t work out as expected
- Problems occur
Engineering managers need to be committed and motivated in their work and they need to be able to inspire and encourage others to try their best for the business. They also need to encourage their employees to come up with new solutions to problems.
You can develop your employees’ self-esteem and motivation through recognition, rewards and by giving them more responsibilities. In order to succeed as an engineering manager, you’ll need to find out what works best for your team. Some of the ways you could motivate your employees to include:
- Letting them make decisions
- Mentoring programs
- Offering rewards
- Asking for their input
Your success in the green energy sector will often depend on your determination and your drive as well as the skills and technical knowledge you have. Having a natural curiosity for finding out how things work and a willingness to keep trying even when things go wrong is also important.
8. Negotiation Skills
Learning interpersonal skills is a lifelong pursuit and one that is critical in any job role. For engineering managers, it’s even more important considering the amount of negotiation and collaboration required in their job role. Engineering managers need to be able to negotiate effectively with colleagues, suppliers, clients and business partners, so this isn’t a skill you want to ignore. In order to succeed in this job role, you’ll need to know when to negotiate and when to stop.
9. Project Management Skills
Managing projects is part of every engineering manager’s job role. Projects might be internal processes, client-focused or even cross-departmental. Whatever project you and your team are undertaking, in order to be successful, you’ll need to understand the costs involved and the expected timeline. This will help to make sure your project comes in on budget and time.
10. An Inquiring Mind
The green-energy sector is continually evolving, so having a natural curiosity in finding out how new things work can be extremely beneficial. In order to be successful in this job role, you will need to be able to explore concepts that may at first seem unachievable. Leaders are expected to be able to encourage their employees to discover, explore and test new technologies and processes to see how they work and how they can be used in order to make the unachievable, achievable. As this sector is still relatively new, there are lots of possibilities that haven’t been explored yet. So, having a manager with an inquiring mind and the ability to encourage others to do the same is essential.
While engineering is often considered a solitary craft, building new technology and coming up with solutions to difficult problems often requires cohesive and collaborative groups of people. And like teams in all sectors, strong leaders are required to delegate, motivate and communicate with others.
As we continue to see the demand for renewable energy increase, companies around the world are looking to employ high-caliber leaders to drive their businesses forward. People wanting to work in this role need to be able to show potential employers that they’re competent in communication, they have the ability to adapt to and understand ever-evolving technology, they are able to inspire others, and that they have an active interest in green energy.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to work as an engineering manager in the environmental sector, then why not find out some more information about this amazing career choice?