From the Apollo moon landing to the planned mission to Mars, NASA is a standout when it comes to innovative leadership. The space agency has been successful in most of its endeavors despite frequent and sometimes bone-deep cuts to their operating budgets. So why not take the lead from NASA when your own engineering department is looking at substantial cutbacks?
Of the top tech giants in the U.S.–Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft– none has a percentage of women in leadership roles above 30%. Therefore, if we want to increase the number of women in engineering, then we should focus on those who have made it to the very top, and serve as an inspiration to the next generation. With that in mind, here is an introduction to three truly amazing women who are leaders in engineering.
Engineers have been portrayed endlessly in books, TV shows, and movies, but no form of media captures this profession quite like the longtime comic Dilbert. Although Dilbert is relatable for nearly anybody who has worked in an office environment, engineers hold an especially notable fondness for the comic strip, which satirizes the unique engineer personality type that so many people find difficult to understand. Highlighted below are several comics that perfectly capture engineers — and the complex job of managing them:
Engineers are smart and hardworking — and they like to let others know it. Common stereotypes suggest that they look down on other types of professionals, making group efforts with architects or marketing professionals a true headache for management.
Engineers are widely regarded as intelligent, talented, and hardworking individuals, but few people think of them as natural leaders. Engineering leaders may not always think or work exactly like conventional managers, but they do bring many valuable qualities to the workplace. Most are simply undeserving of the unfair criticism they receive from people who don’t understand the complexities of their work. Highlighted below are a few of the most destructive myths about engineers and leadership:
1. Engineers can’t be creative.
Engineers and their managers aren’t always proficient artists or wordsmiths, but they do hold the potential for creativity. It’s just a different, more subtle take on creativity. Engineers are, at heart, creators, and when allowed to approach problems in their own unique way, they can come up with some truly innovative solutions.