A team leader carries many responsibilities, and sometimes, too few moments of satisfaction. Leading an inexperienced team, challenged with this huge competition you must show confidence through all the hardships and difficult decisions. Your team expects you to have all the answers, and you never want to disappoint them.
As an engineer and a leader, I always feel the need to balance between pushing forward while not leaving anyone behind. I try to supply mentoring and training as much as possible at all levels. It is important to give our less experienced members a strong base, while continuing to challenge our lead members. We have reports to submit, design reviews and software releases to cope with while knowing that many of those leading these activities will eventually graduate and others will have to replace them. Continuity is the keyword and mentoring is the way to go, whether one-on-one or as a group.
This is where I usually find satisfaction. I believe nothing is more rewarding in this competition for a team or a sub-team leader than to see members growing from insecure students to confident, ready for any challenge engineers. Some of our members were terrified of MATLAB/Simulink and after a summer long training and seven months of challenges are now addicted to it. Others just accepted every piece of information without questioning it and after our “Critical Thinking” workshop keep asking the right questions and not taking anything for granted. And most of all, members who once needed to be “spoon-fed” pick up books and find out they can learn a lot more a lot faster on their own rather than depend on others.
Seeing that light in our members’ eyes when they take another step on the “engineer’s path” is worth all those long nights. Every time I see that light, I know “Aim Higher, Aim Hybrid” is not just a motto for our team, it’s the American Dream, it’s our way of life.
Idan Regev, WSU EcoCAR 2 Project Manager