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Were you born to lead?

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As engineers go through their lives they are increasingly called upon to act in a management role. That requires a particular skill set. Some end up as leaders which requires a different skill set. It's important to distinguish between management and leadership. A simple contrasting definition helps: 'managers do things right, leaders do the right thing'. In other words, a leader knows what's best to do, while a manager knows how best to do it. In spite of a recent survey indicating that 93 per cent of respondents believe leadership skills can be taught, I don't believe you can be trained to be a leader without some inherent ability. You are either born with the right qualities or you aren't. Truly inspirational leadership comes from within from tapping into who we really are and combining that with skills and knowledge. Those who make it to the top often have all or some of the same characteristics: they are highly motivated to succeed, have high energy levels and work out career moves in advance. They tend to be goal directed, politically active, content and confident, and capable of distinguishing the important from the unimportant. More importantly, leaders have to get their people behind them-all employees have to share the vision.

Published in:

Engineering Management Journal  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 6 )