Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Blog - What are the top skills needed for an engineering manager? | Redline Group Ltd

What are the top skills needed for an Engineering Manager?

Engineering managers often have the opportunity to work on a range of different projects and products whilst supervising diverse teams of talented individuals. It is a leadership role which means professionals are in a position of influence where they’ll be able to mentor and develop the employees in their team. Engineering and Design Engineering Managers require both technical knowledge and the ability to build strong relationships with their team, internal customers, and clients and take the lead on all activities related to a project or product. Experience and education provide the foundation for success in an engineering manager role, but it also requires a great deal of foresight and strategic thinking. If you’re looking to advance your career and move into an engineering, design management, and/or technical leadership role, here are the key skills you need to be successful:

T-shaped skills

Engineering managers in high-tech businesses need T-shaped skills. T-shaped skills are generally described as:

A T-shaped person is a metaphor used to describe the abilities of an individual. The vertical bar on the letter T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own.

Therefore, for an engineering manager, the vertical bar on the letter T is the technical and development skills that the person possesses (electronics, mechanical, software) gained either via formal qualification or through industrial experiences.

As high-tech products become ever more sophisticated, engineering managers with T-shaped skills can manage the complexity of technology and the potential diverse mix of development teams effectively. 

Problem-solving skills

One of the major skills needed to succeed as an engineering manager is problem-solving. Part of any engineering project requires the ability to solve problems effectively, which includes being able to make good decisions and use analytical skills. These problems will be often related to the management of the team or the engineering projects themselves. Problem-solving plays a key role in engineering and all facets of business operations. Engineering managers need to be able to think critically and determine the best possible action to find solutions, and then measure the results. Whether it’s providing solutions for complex electronic products or mechanical engineering systems, managers need to be ever curious and able to handle unexpected challenges.


As with most leadership positions, effective communication skills are critical. Engineering managers must be able to inspire and motivate people, so the ability to interact successfully with others of varying levels of engineering experience is highly important. The best engineering managers are excellent at formulating ideas, strategies, whilst using concise and articulate language that empowers a team. In addition, engineering managers need to be able to properly communicate the rationale behind their decisions. There is also sharing team goals and successes to other leaders across the organisation and explaining to individuals where they can improve, all of which requires strong communication and interpersonal skills.


Successful delegation is hugely important in an engineering management role. While engineering managers must be able to solve problems independently and as a team, they need to learn to delegate responsibilities and tasks to relevant team members. This means individuals need to know each of the team members’ strengths and weaknesses, and their overall level of knowledge and experience. When delegating engineering tasks, supervision will also be needed to oversee the results and understand the process to answer any questions. Delegation can be a way to build trust and assist with growth and professional development. So, managers should be continually identifying projects that can be assigned to employees to improve their teams.

Attention to detail

Engineering is a complex field that requires professionals to handle both technical and analytical problems. This means that managers must hone their attention to detail in all areas of their work to ensure mistakes are minimal. In the engineering industry, mistakes can often be costly and have a huge impact on operations and workflow. For example, failure to perform simple checks on equipment can result in serious consequences when it comes to health and safety. Therefore, engineering managers should lead by example and focus on accuracy and precision.

In short, the skills needed to be an effective engineering manager are:

  • See the big picture
  • Understand requirements, cost, roadmap, and systems architecture
  • Listen
  • Prioritise and delegate tasks efficiently
  • Set clear and achievable deadlines
  • Avoid micromanagement
  • Be an effective communicator
  • Take ownership and accountability when required

Are you looking for a new role in engineering?

At Redline, we provide exceptional talent for the engineering and technical sector, as well as manufacturing. In addition, we're also a specialist electronic recruitment agency. We hire professionals both on a permanent, contractual and interim basis, and we’ve been building high-tech teams for over four decades. Due to our unrivalled expertise, we’ve built an excellent reputation and our consultants have a deep understanding of engineering, which allows us to provide the services needed in this complex arena of highly sort after talent. 

Contact us today for more information and keep reading the industry news page for more interesting insights.


Fill out the form below to let us know about a vacancy you would like us to advertise for you.

Click here


Register your details to access the latest vacancies, create job alerts and much more.