Friday, May 29, 2009

Engineering Leadership

Last night we have participated in the inaugural forum of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Gordon Engineering Leadership Center. In our after-forum discussion in the parking lot, some of my friends were skeptical about the role of the center. Their view was that you can not teach someone to be a leader. I would like to take a pause from broadband and ask your opinion about engineering leadership.

Below I am listing some of my questions about engineering leadership. I don't mean to ask you to answer these questions here. (But, feel free to do so if you like.) I am just asking you to think about them and acknowledge the differences between an excellent engineer and an engineer leader.

- What is your definition of engineering leadership? Can you describe it as a collection of qualities? (Gordon Center asked similar questions from some of the industry leaders. You can see their answers in a short video here.)

- Do you think a school can teach someone any of the qualities you listed above?

- How do you evaluate engineering leadership potential?

- If you are an engineer leader in your firm, do you think your engineering education in the United States gave you the non-technical tools necessary for your role? Do you think there were some classes missing from your formal curriculum?

- Do you think an engineering school like UCSD will benefit from a center for leadership development?

Next week, I will continue writing about broadband and will share with you what I think about future ways of interacting with your Internet TV.


  1. In such a discussion it seems to me that it is very important to separate b/w managerial and leadership skills.

    My experience shows that you cannot teach leadership skills and more than that you can not develop leaders by teaching in classes. However, you can make people sensitive about required qualities for being a good leader.

    On the other hand it is totally possible to teach managerial skills which can be very helpful.

  2. Thanks Kaveh for the very interesting comment. I do agree with you. I also think teaching managerial skills will help the individuals discove their leadership talent.