The Chances of Change
The First Female Engineering Manager at MAN Digital Hub
Albertina Soares started to work in Volkswagen Digital Solutions in 2019 as a ServiceNow developer. Nowadays, after 4 years in the company, she became the first female Engineering Manager at MAN Digital Hub leading three teams in a total of 23 members.
This article describes her drive to be better and what she learned with time about the chances of change.
Charles Darwin wrote “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives, it is not the strongest that survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
Change is a constant in life, and it will also be in any professional career. We can’t totally control it, we just know it will happen – something will change. In the moment you accept a new challenge, you will be out of your comfort zone, voluntarily changing it all. And one of the best ways to survive the impacts of change is to ask questions. But doing the right questions only makes sense if you are doing the hardest part – to truly listen.
How to be a Good Manager
When I asked around about the pillars of how to be a good manager, most answers touched three topics:
- You have to take care of business – and keep it thriving;
- You have to be aware of costs and financial impacts;
- You must take care of people – developing others, supporting them, and motivating for a bigger growth and better performance.
The amplitude of these topics makes you aware why you can have so many styles of leadership in management.
Anyone nowadays that knows the balance you need to have to prioritize these tasks, will mention that you need to have a high Emotional Intelligence level. Specially in IT, our environment and knowledge requirements are constantly changing during our working life, sometimes even shifting in months, so we do need to learn how to deal with it.
If you search 5 minutes you will find around the definition of Emotional Intelligence and how to develop it further, you will have information to evaluate where you can invest more in being aware of your emotions and then to control them and not the other way around. Most of the action will be from within, and all the action points have a lead actor since you can’t control anyone else besides you and how you react.
This takes me to the base ground for any pillar that a manager needs to support – his own self .
You can’t support a business, and people, making the company grow, if you forget to make yourself the ultimate priority – to survive change, you have to be your most constant supporter, and this means body and soul, mind and heart, all well cared for.
Emotional intelligence is often mentioned as a path but rarely is defined as “the boots” you must put yourself into to walk the walk. But where are we going?
Our path is to use change as a chance to improve ourselves, others, and the company, so we can make a difference.
Being different also makes a difference – to have diversity in a company you need people that must be prepared to adapt without a pre-defined path of success, nevertheless without diversity you can’t survive as a group. And the comparison is never possible, from case to case, all of them will be different – you have to find your own path – and this is the most interesting part I’ve learned in dealing with change: you shouldn’t do it alone. Others can help, and you can help others.
As an African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.
As mentioned before, getting out of your comfort zone is painful, and the first impact will be fear of the unknown, so the easiest thing to notice are the risks around any change, and focus on avoiding them. But haven’t you seen yourself less afraid if you are not alone?
To help others to also see the chances in their challenges is part of any leader definition, and for that, you do need to know and understand the other’s mindset. But others also can help you in your own path. The most useful tool you will get in your life are other people – their knowledge, their lessons, the friendship and care you can give and get, the power they may have to help, the chance they may become to you to support them.
To start being aware of the chances around you, and prepare to embrace the change, it takes time – but it’s worth it. The emotional intelligence needed to look to every challenge searching for the chance to make something good is immense, and the key play on the game of growth.
For that, once more, you really must listen – and ask questions, to understand, and then really connect, so together we can all surf the waves of change.
You can’t control the changes in your environment, but you are the owner of the changes that you need to make within, to support others, and yourself, to grow in the path you desire for your career and life, and you can choose the company that you will have on that path you will create. And the company can be both an individual and an enterprise, one makes the other.
People are the path for a company’s success, remember you can’t change anyone, you can only challenge them to be better, and improve yourself in the process – if you do it intentionally, nothing is by chance.