Engineers have a reputation for being cantankerous and difficult to please. There is an ounce of truth to this stereotype, but much of it can be chalked up to misunderstanding — engineers simply care about their work and want to put forth the best possible product. That being said, if you put several people prone to grumpiness and perfectionism together, you’ll have a potential management disaster on your hands. Thankfully, it can be surprisingly easy to manage engineers and promote a harmonious work environment. They simply need a workplace that promotes productivity, individuality, and cooperation. Keep the following in mind as you strive to get your drama-prone engineering team back on track.
Many engineers are confident in their work, to a fault. It is not uncommon for one or two overly confident engineers to decide that their way is the best way — and to drown out all opposing viewpoints. Others may harbor resentment. This negativity ultimately saps the work environment of its energy, making it difficult for team members to put forth their best effort. You can prevent this by encouraging all engineers to speak up — and by reminding overly vocal engineers that others deserve to be heard as well.
Many engineers adopt a formulaic approach to work and life in general. Most of the time, this approach generates excellent results, but when something’s not working, engineers may be unwilling to change. Too prevent rigidity, be open to all ideas engineers put forth — all that are at least worthy of discussion. The less rigid management appears to be, the more flexible engineers will be when discussing their work.
The traits that make engineers so good at building and creating sometimes lead to contention in the workplace. It is management’s job to smooth over conflict and promote cooperation. By setting clear expectations and letting engineers know that all ideas are welcome, you can create a welcoming and productive environment.