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What Does Leadership Really Look Like in Engineering?

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Leaders empowering teams doing engineering work is not a straightforward thing.

Engineering is a high technical, high touch, high responsibility job. Under that filter, it's easy to revert to getting outcomes through good control and management. That tends to be a more telling/directive style, and sometimes also a selling/explaining style to enhance understanding.

But these styles become inadequate when we think about engineering in terms of its much broader outcomes - on stakeholders, on the community, on the environment, on the client organization, on the engineer’s own organization. Collaborative leadership that creates high alignment and empowering styles that builds trust & enhances mastery of a broader collective of competencies become the critical leadership styles that will take us forward.

These leadership styles require Empathy… the kind that comes from building a diverse appreciation of different roles and disciplines, that gives us the wisdom to communicate the common vision as well as the humility to be the invisible enabler of individuals being their best self. Without empathy, leading people becomes meaningless.

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