Professor Doug Hargreaves of QUT and Peter Evans of LEA Group have recently conducted a research study into the leadership requirements of the engineering profession towards the year 2030. This included interviews of twelve engineering leaders in ten organisations as well as focus group discussions with a reference group representing a cross section of engineers.

(Powerlink, Thiess, Logan City Council, Cook Medical, Energex, Bligh Tanner, Geodynamic, KBR, AECOM, BMA)

The analysis of this data provided the basis for a presentation by Professor Doug Hargreaves and Peter Evans at the IEAust Engineering Leadership Conference 2012 in Adelaide on 31 May. The presentation aimed to engage those present in a conversation about the initial findings. A copy of the powerpoint slides for the presentation is available here. Characteristics of Future Engineering Leaders

Some significant points which emerged from the study:

  • Engineering leaders of the future will be expected to demonstrate enhanced capabilities in communication, developing engagement, leading teams, forming alliances of diverse parties, and working strategically across the business and within the wider community.
  • Most larger organisations adopted a structured approach to leadership development of their engineers with both internal courses and external links to providers
  • Smaller organisations generally had an ad hoc approach, with few internal processes to develop their engineers as leaders. Most had some availability of mentoring, though quite unstructured

The next steps in the research project are:

  1. Doug and Peter will be producing a paper (and later a book) based on the continued conversation which is developing on this topic.
  2. LEA Group are exploring practical responses to the initial research findings i.e. what initiatives will further develop the desired leadership skills in engineers? An initial discussion of implications for practice is available here. Engineering Leadership – Initial implications for practice Your comments on this discussion paper are welcome.