Effective Team Work for Electrical Engineers
Electrical engineering is a field that demands technical understanding, communication skills and leadership ability, since successful projects rely on team work and knowledge. After engineers students earn degrees they must keep learning about advancing technology. Critical thinking is essential in order for any team member to have a lasting career. Here are more details on why effective team work is a core foundation for electrical engineers.
It’s not necessary for an electrical engineer to be an expert at every aspect of electrical work to work on a team project. An engineering education will shape much of the knowledge needed, while working with others will help create synergy for problem solving. For people who are considering entering the field, it’s important to study courses that are based on science and math, such as Algebra, Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics and Trigonometry. Balancing equations and understanding electrons and required for achieving an electrical engineering degree.
Knowledge of economics is also key for an engineering team to work within the constraints of cost and time efficiency. Evaluating the costs of labor and materials comes into play with projects based on strict budgets. Once again, calculation skills are fundamental to any given project.
Not only should an engineer be able to speak clearly so that colleagues will understand, he or she also needs to express themselves well through writing. Learning a second language is helpful at exercising and sharpening the mind when it comes to delivering messages that require precise interpretation. It’s a reminder that even in one’s own language, misunderstanding can occur due to the multiple meanings and perceptions of any given word.
Many times an engineer must submit a report to owners, managers or co-workers. While everyone on the team might be familiar with industry jargon, sentences still must be structured in a way that’s easy to read and understand, rather than be cluttered with long-winded concepts that risk creating confusion. Learning to write professional cover letters and giving articulate interviews is also helpful in securing a high paying position. An essential to effective writing is proofreading, which can assure cohesive writing free of the errors and omissions that are commonly found in rough drafts.
Both educators and employers emphasize team work when it comes to any form of engineering. In a business culture, project teams are needed to meet production schedules. Collaboration is vital in such projects, especially when it comes to large scale operations such as utility company work. Sometimes electrical engineers must be able to work with various designers such as consultants, architects and mechanical engineers. In each of these cases the overall team must work together to share recommendations for a project in the planning stages.
Something that must always remain in check for a winning team is attitude. Every engineer commands a wealth of knowledge, but that doesn’t mean all engineers agree on the most efficient ways to resolve issues. While it’s easy in many industries for pride to cause personality clashes, engineers must avoid stooping to an immature level just to prove how smart they are. Engineers must respect each other and deal with different perceptions in an objective and friendly manner. The stronger relationships are within the team, the more valuable the team will be to each other and to entities that hire them.
Planning and prioritizing are two of the most important keys to successful management. Engineers must assume authority and take initiative in many situations even if they do not hold a management title. Project managers must be able to resolve conflicts within the team, keeping emotions out of the equation while staying focused on facts. Part of effectively coaching others is gaining their trust and respect so that they will pay attention as closely as possible. Team building is most productive when a manager communicates one on one with every team member, while leading group discussions is also critical for quality performance.
Assigning electrical work to others requires knowledge of the competency level of each individual team member. Simply assuming that any worker with an engineering degree can accomplish any assignment invites problems that slow down productivity. That’s why getting feedback from workers to make sure they understand assignments is always necessary. Even the most well trained engineers are capable of misinterpreting instructions or lacking the knowledge it takes to complete the work successfully. Ability to assess skill levels of team members helps strengthen overall team efficiency.
Electrical contractors often engage in design/build or design/assist team activities. That means a team must be focused on several critical disciplines of an overall project such as:
- upfront design input
- cost and time efficiency
- risk management
- pooling resources
- refining coordination among team members
Many electrical engineers work for a general contractor involving electrical power, communications or control services. This means that a general contractor must play a coaching role in a design/build project. Part of the coaching process may involve explaining business philosophy and practices to engineers to meet specific design requirements. All team members must focus on the same goals with a collaborative spirit so that any type of problem solving is consistent for the whole team.
Attending IEEE discussions and electrical workshops is a way to gain deeper knowledge of electrical engineering or share knowledge with students or colleagues. Writing blogs to share insight with the industry is very helpful. Since engineers usually make impressive salaries, putting in volunteer time to either learn or coach is a great way to develop a team attitude.
Learning From Mistakes
Any given team is only as strong as the combination of its individual members. While errors should always be reduced to as close to zero as possible, sometimes unexpected problems happen. It’s up to all members not to react emotionally or jump to conclusions while sorting through a problem. Mistakes are opportunities to learn from experience. When workers make the same mistakes repeatedly, however, it’s a different story and requires either disciplinary action or better training. The personal goal of every engineer should be to keep expanding knowledge and improve the quality of work for an entire team. Future work depends on building powerful relationships.To help you expand your technical expertise and acquire the advanced skills important for professional growth in the field of engineering, find out more information about New Jersey Institute of Technology’s online master of science in electrical engineering program.