Engineering/Science/Communications Courses

Qualities of Engineering, Science and Communications Industry Leaders

When it comes to leaders in the fields of engineering, science, technology, and communications, who comes to mind? Steve Jobs, who led the team that invented the iPhone and revolutionized the world? Palmer Luckey, the young genius who founded virtual reality pioneer Oculus Rift? Or the scientists seeking to enable robots to pack items in warehouses, aid hospital patients, and assist soldiers on the front lines?

While such advances capture headlines, more seemingly ordinary qualities are an integral part of turning twenty-first century innovations into daily realities. Take, for example, this article in the Harvard Business Review, which presented research findings of leaders in the telecommunications industry who scored high for managerial competency. The results showed that these leaders:

  1. Display excellent strategic vision
  2. Have a strong customer focus
  3. Create a climate of reciprocal trust
  4. Display fearless loyalty to doing what's right for the organization and its customers
  5. Put their faith in a culture that magnifies upward communication
  6. Are persuasive
  7. Excel at setting goals
  8. Emphasize speed
  9. Are candid in their communication
  10. Inspire and motivate through action

This list reflects similar qualities outlined in an article from the American Management Association. Author Robert Hewes, a noted management consultant, comments that leadership today is different from what it was even just five years ago because of a fast pace of change and increasing demands. "It also involves working with many teams usually across different time zones, etc.," Hewes says. "It's a complex environment out there. Leading and managing have moved well beyond just commanding the troops to 'get it done.' While there are a number of different leadership styles, the best leaders share some common traits."

The questions these stories bring to mind: What if your leaders and teams do not possess these attributes? Can they be developed in your existing workforce?

Whatever the specific technology endeavor, there has been a longstanding industry myth that it's not possible to develop essential qualities and character traits in people—the kind that can drive peak performance, improve corporate culture and employee engagement, and reduce safety risks and turnover. You can only hire people who possess these attributes; they can't learn them.

However, it is now possible to develop important qualities and attributes in your existing workforce at a tiny fraction of the costs of traditional training and staff development. And, save the time, disruption and cost to your reputation (and dignity) associated with high turnover. You can develop that side of a person.

For instance, you can now develop character traits like commitment to customer service, understanding people, communicating through difficult conversations, and being organized and disciplined at multi-tasking. And it can all be measured. Here's how the classic roundtable version works

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