Can Good Engineers Make Good Managers?
February 5, 2008
The world today needs creative leadership and technological entrepreneurship. So why do so many companies still believe that effective, science-minded engineers invariably will fail as good managers? "Most engineers become managers in their careers, and typically they are unprepared for the transition," according to a paper that appeared in Engineering Management Journal
- Ability to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity;
- Possessing effective lateral (functional) thinking and vertical (in-depth) thinking;
- Maintaining a team player's attitude;
- Explaining and persuading;
- Thinking internationally;
- Taking reasonable risks and responsibilities;
- Possessing knowledge of foreign values, attitudes and customers;
- Communicating well orally and graphically;
- Using various types of software and hardware; and
- Having a quick grasp of new approaches and ideas.
You need to know where the company's and even the staff's weaknesses are you can't be shy and defensive about that. It needs to be properly conveyed to the staff. You can then identify your strengths and preserve as well as build them at the same time. It's all about trust, which eventually leads to the formation of passion. With passion, opportunities could be found whenever a problem occurs.This leads us to passion in problem solving. "The root of passion comes from understanding," Waei said. "You must have interest in the subject and want to explore it and that's where your passion comes from exploring," Waei said. He added, "it's passion that drives people to success." Have you ever known an incurious engineer? History is on the side that engineers can evolve into roles of managerial responsibility. After all, it was a young engineer named Kiichiro Toyoda who some 70 years ago founded the Toyota Motor Company. And today's Toyota Production System, not to mention a very strong management philosophy that exemplifies the success of engineers as managers, emerged from Toyoda's Company. Since then, engineers have proven time and again that those in their profession possess the characteristics necessary to lead, never mind to manage. Why, then, does the view that good engineers invariably will fail as managers continue to be held? We've only scratched the surface here. And while the question can only be answered based on the individual engineer, there is no good reason for professional engineers to imagine a glass ceiling holding them back in a management position as long as they can prove that when they take responsibility, success will follow. Resources Do Great Engineers Make Good Managers?