Thursday, July 21, 2011

Engineering Management - Ten Destructive Leadership Mistakes

As a recent engineer-turned-manager, coming across bits of information to remind myself that not all great engineers make great managers are always a welcome find.  And when those bits of information explicitly state guidelines to follow, I sit up and pay attention.

John Hamm wrote an article in the May 2011 edition of PE magazine (by NSPE).  In it, he lists the Ten Destructive Leadership Mistakes that organizational leaders make.  Although the mistakes are better expressed by example, I'd rather not plagiarize John's work and instead will only list them here.  Sadly, NSPE membership is required to read the article online.

Avoid These Mistakes
  1. "Role playing" authenticity rather than living it.
  2. Understanding the impact of small acts of dishonesty.
  3. Being two-faced (and assuming others won't notice).
  4. Squelching the flow of bad news.
  5. Punishing "good failures."
  6. Letting employee enthusiasm fizzle.
  7. Refusing to deal with your "weakest links."
  8. Allowing people to "fail elegantly."
  9. Delaying decisions until it's too late.
  10. Underestimating the weight of your words and moods.
Even if...
Even if you are not a manager, engineers are often leaders.  Just by our education and experience people look to us as decision makers.  We also tend to lead project teams or are champions of our designs.  Mistakes, such as the ten listed above, have a negative impact in those situations as well and care should be maintained in order to avoid them.
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