The architecture/engineering/construction field is built around teams: people working together to properly design, apply science and build structures. In the HVACR field, that also means ensuring that building occupants are comfortable while conserving energy.
While MEP engineers learn about building science and technology in school, they usually are not taught the soft skills needed to work efficiently in a team atmosphere. In a Feb. 1 2022 AHR Expo session, specifying engineer and human skills expert Karine Leblanc explained the soft skills engineers need today to increase success in their work.
“Communication is the No. 1 criteria for advancing ourselves is developing the ability to communicate efficiently,” she noted. “Leaders spend 80 percent of their day communicating.”
Perspective is key, she added, so make sure you actively listen to team members.
Collaboration is essential in engineering firms. “Decide as a team what collaboration means for the project,” Leblanc said. “Focus on building relationships within the team before tasks. It’s important to know who you are working with.”
As part of a team, meetings are inevitable, so make sure they run smoothly. Effective meetings include preparation, clear expectations, focus on agenda, next steps and assessment.
“Make sure to start and end your meetings on time,” she explained. “You can follow up later if an issue needs clarification.”
And while most people abhor public speaking, it is one of the best ways to establish credibility in your field.
Finally, Leblanc noted that “multitasking is a myth.” Those who try to do too many things at once see a 20 percent reduction in productivity.