There are many qualities and skills an individual needs to become an effective engineer and to have a successful career. Engineering is dynamic so it needs people who can work across disciplines, with others, and continually adapt to new challenges. In your engineering career you should focus on developing a variety of skills including technical competence, communications skills and leadership skills.
The SDITE Workforce Development Committee conducted a survey at the Charlotte, NC Annual Meeting in 2014. The survey asked in what area transportation professionals need the most help, and it revealed the greatest challenges were people skills and communicating. Some highlights from the survey:
Which skill set is the most challenging for you?
Communicating and Managerial tied for highest at 34%
Rank the order of the skill sets from 1 to 5 with 1 being most important for achieving a successful career.
- Project Management
Which skill set is most challenging for you?
Which skill set(s) are you able to obtain training through your current employer?
Communications ranked lowest
Which skill set would help you most in achieving your career goals?
Leadership 25%, Communication 25%, Business 24%
The Committee concluded that the first priority was to provide training in Communication Skills. We felt that this was an area in which SDITE members need specialized training by communications professionals. We reached out to four professional communications firms identified by committee members. Our goal was to evaluate their experience and approach to providing communication skills training to groups like transportation professionals.
At the Year End Board Meeting, the Board approved Communications training as part of the program from the April 2016 Annual Meeting in Nashville. Beverly Langford will speak in two 1½ hour sessions on different aspects of Communications to create awareness and teach skills. This is a Pilot Project, and we’d like your feedback on whether this type of training is helpful to you. Please contact David Low at firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 280-2105. We will ask the Board for approval of a one-and-a-half day “Train the Trainer” Communications workshop later in 2016. We’re seeking individuals who want to develop their communications skills and can train members in their Sections.
Beverly Langford works with organizations and individuals on strategic communication, message development, effective interpersonal communication skills, team building, and leadership development. Her website is www.LMACommunication.com. In addition, Dr. Langford is a Clinical Assistant Professor, teaching leadership communication to students in the MBA program at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.