A leader is defined as an individual, or group, who influences others to accomplish an objective. At Choice Engineering our team leaders strive to support their engineers as individuals and as a team. From training us to be better engineers to promoting a healthy lifestyle, every day at Choice is a day to become a better version of yourself. In addition, we are constantly engaging with the community and the engineering profession. The image below represents the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Miami-Dade Branch, featuring this blog’s authors, Jessica M. Garcia, EI (first row, first from the right) and Lorenzo M. Fuchs, EI, (first row, third from the left) at the ASCE Multi-Regional Leadership Conference.
Although there is a myriad of ways to define the concept of a leader, there are a few common elements that everyone can agree on. A leader has a vision that they share with others, and through motivation and inspiration, directs the efforts of a team toward this common goal. A successful leader also supports and empathizes with their group members, offering a positive environment that ensures individual and team development. It is a common misconception that leadership comes with position or with age. This short How To guide will exemplify a few ways that you can become a successful young leader.
- Everyday Work Experience: To become a young leader, it is important to learn to make the most of your everyday experiences at work. Hone in on your learning journey by being both focused and curious. By asking questions you will discover something new, clarify how things come together, and understand people better. Understanding the needs and goals of those around you will help you identify how to best serve your team both as a team player and a leader. Take initiative and put yourself in the position to face challenges. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn about yourself, improve your skills, and strengthen your emotional intelligence which is critical to effective leadership.
- Professional Societies: Societies are a great place to meet people who, like you, are also trying to work on their personal development. Participating in a society allows you the opportunity to practice your presentation skills, gain hands-on experience leading teams, and learn from other like-minded individuals. These associations will often offer courses and events to facilitate innovation and support the interests of your chosen profession. Additionally, this is a great way to network and expand your source of new perspectives and ideas while engaging in something you are passionate about.
- Learn from Others: It is typical for individuals to feel critiqued when receiving feedback and comments about their work. However, we should not feel critiqued, instead we should feel grateful that we have been gifted insight. Mistakes mean that we are growing, expanding, and learning. If you are not making mistakes, this is an indication that you are not trying anything new. We as leaders and human beings must have the ability to learn from everyone around us and from ourselves. The fear of making wrong decisions or making mistakes will only hinder you from your goals. Although it may be hard at times, leaders must be able to accept constructive criticism and recognize it as experience gained.
As we conclude this How To guide, we leave you with the following message: Leading a team is a privilege. It is not about the role or about enriching yourself, but rather about making a difference and empowering others.
Stay in tune for the next How To segment!
Authors: Jessica M. Garcia, EI & Lorenzo M. Fuchs, EI