How Non-Quants Can Still Lead Engineering Teams To The Promised Land

Quants and non-quants lead vastly different lives. Quants value structure, often to the point of rigidity. This is an endless source of frustration for non-quants, who tire of giving specific instructions at every turn and breaking up disagreements among stubborn engineers.

Leading a team of analytic-minded professionals can be shockingly difficult when your personality traits include flexibility and spontaneity. These qualities have value in the workplace, but they must be tempered to meet the specific needs of engineering teams. Detailed below are a few ways you can adapt your personality to fit in better with a team of quants.

Inform Non-Quants of the End Goal

Quants crave structure, so the more you can tell them about a given project, the better. When possible, provide your engineering team with a glimpse of the big picture. Without an idea of the end goal, they may continue to follow orders, even when those orders require fine-tuning.

Provide Guidance Along the Way

Engineers like to do their own thing, but without guidance from management, their own thing can end up being nothing like what you originally envisioned. Check in from time to time to ensure that your engineers are on track. But don’t make it seem like you’re micro-managing — non-quants love order and guidance, but only so much.

Understand Analytical Techniques — and the Quant Mindset

The more you know about how quants think — and how they carry out everyday tasks in the workplace — the better equipped you’ll be to provide them with the specific guidance they need. You don’t have to transform into a quant yourself; you just need to understand their mindset.

Emphasize Data, Not Opinion

Although their work involves endless data, some quants have a tendency to explain themselves with pure opinion, in part because they assume managers won’t understand or don’t want to look at the numbers. The more you can get quants to stick with actual data, the sooner you’ll find a solution to the problem at hand.

Life with quants need not be frustrating. Make some effort to get on their level and communicate in a way that makes them comfortable, yet motivated. They’ll reward you with a more productive workplace and improved business outcomes.

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