Great Engineering Managers Practice An Inclusive Leadership style

Great engineering managers practice an inclusive leadership style.

The points that you can use to create and cultivate an inclusive management style with your team. Let’s, jump right in all right and now I’m excited to welcome in our guest, or, I should say, welcome back our guest for today.

You know how you spend your days yeah, well how I spend my days our mission, my mission and our mission of the people stack is to help technical managers upgrade their careers to really walk the path toward whatever it is that their dream career is, and that Means commanding a premium salary of at least 200 K a year.

If you live in a place, a high cost of living place like say San Francisco or the you know, the Bay Area it’s, gonna be higher than that. Maybe it’ll, be a little bit lower in certain parts of the country, but it’s, really getting paid for the value that you’re, adding and doing that with with the zen-like work/life balance.

So that’s, really what it is that we do. We work focus exclusively on coaching technical managers, that’s. Awesome – and you know, like you said, everyone can give some kind of value and I think a lot of engineering managers – technical managers – they you know they’re, giving value, but they’re, not necessarily getting in what they should in return And sometimes they’re, just not comfortable.

You know making it clear what that value is, and I don’t think you need to do it in a way that is, you know necessarily like they’re bragging, but I know even like in my life as a consulting engineer, You know it was important to kind of let the to let the clients understand the value that we provided to them so that they knew that what differentiated us, from maybe other consultants or other engineering companies and some people are uncomfortable with that.

But if you’re uncomfortable with that and your competitors are not, then you’re kind of going to lose out. So I think what you’re doing is very, very important, and I’m really happy. You’re doing it, so thanks for doing it, yeah thanks a lot all right, so we’re gonna talk today about an inclusive management style.

We’re, doing a lot of research. We identified kind of four key drivers of great engineering managers being an inclusive management style, providing career growth, opportunities for their team, interpersonal engagement and the ability to manage projects.

Today we’re, really gonna touch on two of those, the inclusive management style and interpersonal engagement. We’re gonna focus a little bit more on the inclusive management style. Let’s kind of dive right into this, because it is an interesting topic.

It’s, certainly something that listeners out there can start to do in their careers if they want to. You know kind of create that kind of atmosphere. That’s, much more comfortable for their team, and I know that one of the first things that you like to focus on are kind of in the list of points that we’re gonna go through is is building trust, so Maybe we can start with that yeah absolutely so it has to start with trust.

So when I think an inclusive leadership, I think of how do we include everyone who we possibly can, and that means not only making sure that you’re communicating to everyone that you possibly can and including them in conversations.

But it also means empowering everyone that you possibly can. So if you’re, an engineering manager and you have a team that means empowering everyone on your team and hopefully even everyone in your organization.

So you do what it is that they are great at so, and you can’t, you can’t. Do that and you create can’t create that space for making sure that everyone’s included and has their room to shine and show their superpowers.

You cannot do that if you don’t have trust, so it has to start with building trust and it’s, not just a one-time thing that’s. The other thing that I would add for now, um you can, you can talk about this more and unpack and even more but like it can’t just be one conversation that builds trust.

Great Engineering Managers Practice An Inclusive Leadership styleYou got to start somewhere, and so it starts usually with one conversation, but it’s really about a series of conversations that are gonna happen over weeks and months and often years, and that’s. How Trust is built yeah? That’s great.

I like that point there, at the end of how you know it can’t, be a one-time thing. I think that, with these four key drivers I mean we can tell an engineering manager, Technical Manager like here for drivers that, if you do these things well, you’re gonna become a great manager.

Your team’s Gonna love. You so that’s great, but you can’t then take those four things and go through them like an engineering punch list and just say: dawn dawn, dawn dawn. It’s more like something that you need to cultivate habits like.

I always tell my kids, build better haven’t, always build better habits, build better habits, so you got to cultivate these habits around these four drivers. All the time in your career, in all the conversations with your team and all the emails with your team and all the correspondence with clients and different things, and so I think that’s.

An important thing to highlight here at the beginning of Jan a nice conversation because, as we go through some of these different points, these are things that have to just become normal. For you to have to just become all the time things and it happens for great managers, it happens even if you go into sports and you look at the teams that tend to win consistently over and over it’s because they’Re building better habits and doing all the right things so that’s, something to keep in mind.

The next point that we want to dive into a little bit is, you know, getting to know your your team talked about yeah yeah. So a lot of times people say: okay great. I understand that I need to build trust.

How do I do that, and there’s? No, there’s, no easy way like we just talked about it’s about developing those habits, and that happens over time. It’s really about thinking about your career in building the path to leadership mastery as a marathon, but how you start is with with conversations and how you start is really by getting to know every single one of your team members.

Every single one Of the people who you work with all of the MIS stakeholders, all of the decision-makers for the projects that you’re working with, and so when I say know them often what I. What I tell my clients is know them know them to their Bones and what I mean is like know them like know their soul like see the inside of them and enter their world and really understand where it is that they’re coming from, and then you even take it to the next level.

And you say: okay, I can actually even appreciate where they’re coming from because it’s, one thing to keep an intellectual and say yeah, I get it right, especially if you’ve, been there before right and you’ve experienced some that they had experienced before I’ve, been on a similar project before or have a similar personality.

It’s, really easy to build trust with people and to know people and to appreciate people who are the same as us, and no similar backgrounds and who’ve been on similar projects. Is we have, or if it’s, a project kind of project that you’ve, been on before that’s really easy? But the challenge comes when it’s, people who are different different backgrounds – or maybe there’s, something new contextually.

It’s, a new kind of project or, and you’re kind of challenged to tackle. So it’s really, then it becomes even more important to you to really know where everyone is coming from and and appreciate that, like really understand who they are as a person, their personality, their beliefs, their values, their experiences, their triggers like what might Trigger them, like the negative and the positive triggers like what might trigger them to like just be very you know, to get angry or to get get a, maybe maybe even hostile or aggravated or demotivated, and then also like what are the things that that tend to Put them in those kinds of stays, but then also the positive side of it as well.

What gets them motivated? What really gets them in place of joy, and I want to do this and let’s – do this together team, and so that happens over time. But the only way that you can really do that is again is through series of conversations and a series of communicating with people in really asking the questions and listening so that you can really appreciate where it is that they’re coming from yeah And again it’s.

It’s, another one of those things as you can see, which is a pattern here that you know you have to do on a regular basis. You have to continue to do it. You know you’re, not gonna get to know someone overnight right, so you’re constantly doing the learning and another thing that this, I think really kind of highlights, is one of the bigger challenges of engineers and technical professionals becoming Successful managers is the variable that gets thrown in once you become a manager which is people right.

People are totally different and they are not like an engineering equation. It’s, not like a problem you can solve as every person is different. Everyone acts differently. Everyone’s, different communication patterns, different response, two different things, and so, unless you know people and you get to know people well, you can’t, learn their different patterns and work with them.

The best that you can, I mean you, know part of Management. In my opinion, is you know you have to know kind of the strengths of each person on your team, some of the challenges they have, and you know things that they like to do or don’t like to do so that you can kind Of manage effectively – and so you know the point when you get to know people, you can much better manage kind of the relations between you and the different team members and really get the most out of everybody and put people in the Best positions to succeed, which I guess kind of goes in well to our next point, which is making assumptions or not, making assumptions right and sort of Doug done tale.

Out of this, we’re talking about and to tie it back to the larger idea of inclusive leadership. Right there’s, no way that you are going to empower others to be their best and make sure that they’re, actually included as part of this game as part of this fabulous journey of building whatever it is that you’re building together there’s, no way that you’re gonna be able to do that without trust, without really knowing that, and if you make assumptions.

Okay, there’s. So a lot of the times when clients come to me with with challenges or problems, it’s. It’s, not all the time, but there’s, a pattern that comes up is they’re, making an assumption about what other people are thinking or feeling when really the way to kind of settle that problem and just Nip it in the bud, but it’s.

Just ask like I’m curious. Why did you say that you know I’m curious? Why did you make that decision? You know you can get up all any all up in your head about like oh man, they they decided to put this other person on the project and not my team member, because they hate me – and you know they’re against me right and You go there right and but you could and that’s finding and you recognize it.

We’re human, we feel things like fear and anger and disgust sometimes but to to move out of that a lot of times. The best way is just not make an assumption about it and ask the person with curiosity with compassion, hey.

I’m curious. Why you put this person on the project and not my team member, because I thought my would have been a great fit for this project that’s cool and you know this. Other people are gonna rock it.

It’s Gonna be awesome, but in the future I’d love for you to consider my team member team member for this. So can you sorry dial up dialogue about this? Sometimes it’s. That simple, but, like you were mentioning in the beginning, Anthony that sometimes people feel a little bit weird or don’t want to open up these conversations like especially when it’s around like self-promotion or anything like that, but anything resembling Self-Promotion are talking about like even promoting somebody else who’s on your team, but it’s.

Often about saying and asking the hard thing that thing that you don’t want to ask that person right that that thing that you don’t want to ask that conversation that you don’t want to have is Very often the exact conversation that you need to have yeah for sure, and I think that goes into the next point.

I guess just to drive at home a little bit more. As was asked a lot of questions, which is you know, kind of what your framing out there, but I think you know this is something again that happens consistently like if you get into a staff meeting, you know what happened on this project.

We had some trouble. Let’s talk through it a little bit tell us, you know what worked, what didn’t work and you have to keep asking questions. I think one of the challenges. Sometimes the leaders is that we tend to think like.

Maybe we reached a certain level, which means we know more than the people that were leading, but a lot of times. They have more answers than us that’s, definitely part of it right and that’s. Definitely part of not making assumptions, especially as we get more and more removed from what our team is doing and that just naturally happens as you as you become more and more experienced as a leader like it may start to be it’s.

It’s, two three five, sometimes even 10 or 15 years, since you’ve, been doing what they’re doing on a daily basis. You’re developing as a leader for sure you’re. Developing leadership skills, but not making assumptions about you know the way that something should be done or how it should be built, for example, but it’s also about just it’s.

It’s, really a key to to building that trust is asking more questions than making more statements on it. Really, like my favorite question, to ask if you’re like okay, I want to ask more questions. Can you just give me one it’s? Why right like? Because often what’s missing from this whole equation of making sure that people are truly included as part of a mission? Is that there’s no mission? And there’s, no way to include people in a mission.

the onus is on senior leadership to make sure that that mission is clearIf that mission, isn’t there or if it’s, not clear and yes, the onus is on senior leadership to make sure that that mission is clear. But the onus is also on the managers and the team members to if they’re, not sure what the mission is to ask right.

Why are we doing this? Okay, I get that that’s, why? Why are we doing that? Like the five, why’s? You know what I mean and you can really get to the heart of. Why am I here existential question of? Why am I here in this seat eight plus hours a day like it’s, not just to build stuff right if there’s, a larger mission here in many people, and if you can help people get connected to that and ask Those why questions more often to team members to senior leadership to everyone, then that’s, also going to create a more inclusive environment as well yeah.

I totally agree man, I think a big part of an inclusive environment is including your team. In the bigger mission or vision of the company or of the project that they’re working on. So if you tell me to go – and you know design this roadway or portion of a roadway – and I’m doing that all day.

Three weeks in a row, it can become a knot in this, but if I understand that this roadway is gonna, you know get people safely in one place to another or whatever the case may be. You know it takes on a bigger meaning, because I’m being included in what the overall picture is, and I know that that’s.

An important part of it ties into a bunch of these four drivers. Is you know connecting people with you know the bigger picture of what’s, what they’re working on, so that they do feel really a part of that.

So I think that that kind of all comes together there for sure and then the other thing that I would add on there before we move to the next point is that what a lot of people miss, because you know folks, like you folks, like me, we Talk a lot about organizational mission like know the mission of your organization like what? Why are you going to work? Why do you? Why are you building the things that you’re at the end of the day, but the other thing that I would add to that that so many people miss is what’s.

My mission in my career. What’s? My individual mission as a leader and knowing that’s, that that’s gonna help. You show up better as a leader in being more inclusive leader as well, because you’re gonna be able to behave according to that mission and get people on board.

With that mission as well, and you’re gonna be more motivated to do better and to always show up as the best theater possible, so that’s. The other thing that I would add in terms of mission is yes know.

What your organization’s mission is, but also make sure you know what your mission is for your career and what kind of leader that you want to be yeah great point, and that’s. Something too that I can see for managers that can some can fall through the cracks, because you’re thinking about your projects.

You’re thinking about everything else and you’re, not thinking about, and you’re thinking about. Maybe you are thinking about the bigger mission of the company and you’re. Not thinking about you know what is this person interested in specifically right yeah in the morning we connect to get connected with our own missions, then that’s.

How we’re reminded oh wow. People on my team have career missions as well. Like I know, one of the things one of the pillars is about career development right like really making sure that you’re talking about the career development on your team numbers, so that’s.

Gon na overlap with this, and so if you, if you don’t really have a sense of how you want to develop your own career, and you haven’t done that intentionally. You’re, not really gonna be able to help.

Somebody else do that, but if you’re doing it for yourself and you’ve been on that path and you ‘ Ve made some mistakes along the way like that’s, actually even better, because then you can help your team to do that as well and be empowered to have the careers and go the careers that they want to build.

Yeah, which is also goes to a larger point, that if you are a manager – and you’re, focused on these four key drivers and you are practicing them. Your team members are also by habit, learning them and they’re, going to exhibit those drivers and their management styles, and they’re gonna become great managers as well, and then you know they’re yeah.

That’s. How you cultivate you know about very positive leadership culture throughout an organization it starts with. You know the managers building building habits so all right, so we talked about compassion and empathy and how that they’re tied in to an inclusive manager.

They’re tied into it because of trust right. So we started out talking about trust. How do you build an inclusive team, an inclusive organization? Well, it all starts with trust. How do you build that trust? You have to have empathy and this kind of touches on what I started to talk about before around yeah.

You you have to know them, you have to understand them, but it has to go beyond yeah. I get it right. It has to go beyond the intellectual understanding uh. Yes, I under it. I give you a five-step plan on how to get through this.

That’s, important like that’s; the strategy and that’s, the tactics, but when we’re talking about empathy, it’s really about that heart-to-heart connection, feeling their pain, but, like literally for A second feeling what it is that they might be feeling, because then that’s really, when you’re gonna be able to enter their world and say: oh wow, I don’t just get it up here.

I get it here at my heart as well, and now we can move forward from a place of having that that heart-to-heart understanding, because, especially with engineers right engineers, you’re super smart right here, super motivated, but we we live up here.

Most of our day, because we have to write, because if we make mistakes then then the bridge collapses. Then then, the road isn’t built as well as it could be, or whatever else that might be um and that’s and that’s, an important part of our jobs as engineers and as people who build stuff.

Okay, like Safety’s is important and minica and mitigating risk is important, so, but us so that’s. Why we stay up here? Why we stay up in our heads, but it’s, really kind of cultivating that that muscle and that habit of learning how to move out of your head and into your heart and having that empathy and having that feeling for for another team person Or another team member for another person on that’s.

You know if there’s, a number two thing that clients come to me the most with it’s. You know how do I deal with this person? I can’t. I don’t, get it right, so number one is don’t make assumptions, but then number two really kind of feel what it is that they’re going through right, like, for example, a team member might be underperforming Right and for some people where we might go and what’s going on like you’re, not you’re, not motivated.

You got it. You know you got it, you got it to start working harder and, like you might start to get frustrated with them or who knows right there. They’re underperforming and you just start to blame them, and it just it just becomes this whole thing when so you notice how you might be making assumptions there without having a conversation with them.

But when you have the conversation about okay, you’re, not performing up to par anymore. What’s, going on it’s, really about listening to them and understanding where it is that they’re? Coming from now, I’m, not saying to make excuses for anyone like we have performance standards that we want to meet right and it’s about getting them back up to those performance standards.

It’s like, for example, they may be going something through something at home, like maybe their mom just died and they didn’t and they didn’t. Tell you and you don ‘ T know that, and by the way they’re, not gonna tell you that unless there’s that trust, but let’s, say let’s say something catastrophic happened in their family and they’re and they’re dealing with something outside of work.

You want to create that space for them to be able to share that with you, and then you could say: okay, I’m gonna give you you know a couple of days off so that you can go grieve and spend some time with Your family, my heart, goes out to you and then you can.

You can come back. You answer a couple of days, and so we can all. You know sort of experience that and feel that in our hearts, because even if you haven’t experienced that exact thing, we have that capability as humans to have that hard to our connection.

What the empathy is really about yeahSo that’s. What the empathy is really about yeah, and I think, while empathy can be, you know difficult, and you need to really practice it. I do think that what engineers have going for them often is that in most cases they’ve, been through the engineering ranks like the people on their team are going through now, so they kind of do have somewhat of an understanding what they’re going through in terms of the career ladder, and you know when what they’re dealing with on some of the projects and with some of the clients and some of the stressors involved in that which I, for me it was all.

Was always helpful in management as an engineer, because you know I felt like in those ways I could relate, but I agree that getting to know them also more in the personal side will help you even more with that, because you’ll be able to relate to some of their other situations and circumstances so that that’s very helpful.

So our last point here, before we jump into our take action segment, is talking about controlling people. What we can and can’t, do talk about that. A little bit yeah one of the things we’re talking about inclusive leadership and really the larger the larger goal here is: how can I be the best leader I can possibly be? How can I show up as that superhero leader and make the largest impact that I possibly can and one of the larger concepts that often comes up when people ask questions around this is control and often where people get stuck is they’re, focusing On things that they cannot control mmm, oh my god, my boss, hasn’t.

Given me a promotion right, I’ve, tried and tried and tried for the last three six nine months. Two years, my boss, just won’t, give me a promotion and if you focus on it from that perspective, and have that internal dialogue going on what you’re, focusing on, is in the way that you’re.

Looking at it is what you can’t control, because at the end of the day let’s just say in this case it would be your boss’s decision, whether or not to give you that promotion. You cannot control, you cannot like control your boss, like a robot and just make him, give you and like reprogram your boss, to give you a promotion right, but instead you can focus on what we can control, which is how we show up.

So what we can control is how we respond to other people. So, yes, your boss may say yeah. I’m, not really sure there’s, still a few more skills that need to you need to get upgraded before you before you get a promotion, so you can choose in that moment to play the blame and shame and how dare You game, but if you do that’s, then you’re, focusing on what you can’t control.

But if you say okay, I get it there’s. Still a few skills there’s. Still a little bit more measurable impact that I need to give in and show in these areas. What can I do? How can I show up so like that’s? One bigger example that has much more higher stakes potentially at higher stakes, results there, but even if it’s, just like I don’t, know someone someone like blows you off or something like you’re supposed to meet With them right, you’re supposed to meet them at 10, o’clock and you’re in you’re sitting there and you’re like where’s.

Where’s, Jane Jane’s supposed to meet with me? If you play the blame and shame game where’s Jane? Oh, my god, Jane’s! Obviously I can’t believe they’re like you, can’t control, whether or not Jane’s on time like that’s, change Joyce, poor Jane this gene is out there.

We love you, but instead you can say all right gee. I wonder what’s, going on like again turn on that compassion and that empathy, oh wow, I hope James okay, I hope everything’s, okay and then just focus how you can respond in that moment, all right cool I uh! I can spend 15 minutes.

I can. I can respond to some slack and message messages. I can respond to some emails and if she’s not here in 15 minutes, I can just decide that she either forgot about it or something else came up. So it’s, focusing on what we can control, which is what we can’t.

We can’t control, other people, we can control our reactions and how we show up yeah that’s. Awesome – and I’m – actually rereading this book – that I like a lot right now called zen and the art of happiness by Chris Prentiss and there’s.

A great line in the book where he says stress is not doesn’t come from the events that happened to us. They come from how we respond to those events that’s. How stress is created, so you know exactly to your point.

You know something happens to you. Inevitably, especially in a world of engineering on engineering projects. Things happen all the time and you know the way that you respond to. Those will have a major impact in terms of your success overall, absolutely interact with people yeah and then the other thing that I would stack on top of that is there’s, a difference between reacting and responding, because where a lot of people might Go here’s, we’re like well.

I’m gonna feel angry like if Jane’s late, I’m gonna feel angry right like that’s. Okay, you can like there’s there’s, that knee-jerk reaction right like when, when the doctor hits your knee it’s. Gon na it’s.

Gon na there’s, gonna be a reaction. It’s almost physiological and to that, to a certain extent, we may not be able to control that, because we’re human, we feel things we can’t always control what it is.

We’re gonna feel in a given moment, so it’s like allowing yourself to have that reaction. Um yeah, I feel angry. I feel sad, I feel worried. I feel fearful. I’m scared like allowing that sitting with it for a moment giving it a label like yeah.

I’m scared. I don’t square or not like, but like I’m, really scared. Out of my mind, right now, and then you can choose how you respond to that right. That’s. What we had control over you can then say all right.

I can respond to this fear and like curl up into a ball and cry and like never come out of it right or I could say all right – the fears there. Why is the fair there? How can I turn that fear into an opportunity or whatever it is? You know, so it’s.

It’s really like distinguishing between the the reaction that need your like gut reaction, that we’re gonna feel because we’re human and then what happens in the five to thirty seconds after that and how we Respond right, and – and I know probably a lot of listeners are thinking like well, that’s impossible.

Everyone’s gonna have that like knee-jerk reaction. But what I found myself and just working on this specifically, is that it is again the cultivation of a habit. It’s, a mindset. Actually, you’re, changing your mindset so that when you, when things happen, you there’s like a little bit more space for you to you know, respond and say like okay.

Let me think about this. Maybe there’s, something really great that I could take out of this as opposed to not so it’s again. None of this stuff is easy. If it was, everybody would be doing it. So the idea, the idea I having a discussing here – is to bring some points out that you can try to work on if they work for you and integrate them into your management style.

We’re, going to come back in a minute. We’re gonna wrap this one up with our take action today segment and give you something actionable that you can take and try to become a little more inclusive in your style.

Today we’re talking about an inclusive management style, which we found to be one of the four key drivers Of successful engineering managers and the things you can take immediate action on.

We talked about. You know building trust with your team members. It’s, something that you have to do all the time, not just something that you’re doing every so often you need to build that trust with them.

You need to really get to know them. You know kind of enter into their world so that you can, you know, build that kind of level of engagement and that inclusive management style don’t make assumptions.

You know that’s, something you need to ask and flush things out, as opposed to making assumptions and in terms of asking ask a lot of questions because the more information you can get, then you can have that inclusive style.

You don’t have to guess at things and have people think you’re, not you know connected with them. Necessarily we talked about compassion and empathy, really putting yourself in your team member shoes.

If you want to become inclusive and include them in things, you need to understand how they think and what they’re going through and then last what we talked about, controlling what you can control you can’t control.

What other people do necessarily, but you certainly can control the way you respond to it and so kind of cultivating that mindset so all great stuff. What we want to do now is give our listeners. Maybe one thing they listen to this and there may be on their way into work.

They’re on the bus on the train on their commute when they get there, they want to start to be more inclusive. What can they do? Ask more questions. Ask more questions and the statements right so take a look and it and be more mindful of okay.

What I just said there was that a question always that a statement and set a goal: that in any given day, you are going to ask more questions than making statements, because when you ask questions, then that allows you to.

You then build trust and get some new people and make assumptions empathy for people and control what you can control um. It gives you that that perspective that you’re not going to have. If you didn’t ask the questions very often I mean get into statement-making mode, so that’s.

What I would challenge everybody do is get out of statement-making mode and ask more questions awesome and again. That is something you could do today and you get to the office. You know you get into a staff meeting in a conversation with someone ask some questions but be careful because sometimes we go into it saying we’re gonna ask more questions, but we start asking a question and we end up with a statement like we ended up saying something. So all of these things, all of these things are things that you.

What you need to just do is be aware of them right, changing anything begins with awareness and, if you, if you catch yourself and say okay, I’m, making a statement instead of a question. Let me make an adjustment as long as you can stop yourself.

You can make that adjustment and I think that’s. What management’s all about it’s, continually, improving continuous improvement, refining, your tools, your strategies, the actions you take and if you keep working on it there’s.

No doubt that you can develop these four key drivers or developing each one of them, and I think the inclusive one is important because it ties in closely with some of the other ones like we talked about the engagement providing career growth right, they’re kind of very layered together.

I wish you the best in all of your engineering career endeavors, great engineering managers, practice an inclusive management style.

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