A Boss Has A Title, A Leader Has The People

By: Andy Palermo, P.E., CFM
Senior Vice President

What a strange year it has been, so many things have evolved before our eyes. We have had to become more flexible and agile while continuing to produce high quality engineering solutions for our clients.

Everyone adjusts to change differently; it has been so interesting to witness our team members evolve from doers to leaders. Engineering is the marriage of creative solutions with unshakable, concrete calculations. We are taught to be critical thinkers from a young age, always addressing problems from different angles. Always coming up with the best remedy for the tasks at hand.

What we sometimes let fall by the wayside as technical professionals is the ever so-important human side. Engineers endure hours of studying and constant technical development to become a Project Manager, only to find that the title of ‘manager’ does not make you a leader. Attention to the importance of leadership is something everyone at all levels should embrace. Something that should be emphasized at all levels within an organization. It is the most sure-fire way to encourage growth and an enduring brand for generations to come.

EHRA encourages mentoring at all levels and fully subscribes to the belief that our journey as professionals not only includes academic and technical excellence, but the passing along of experiences and instilling leadership qualities across the experience spectrum.   

As we slowly begin to emerge from this pandemic year, and we take stock of how our lives have changed in the last 12 months, I challenge you to be a better teacher, a better leader. Every leader must continue to learn and grow, and there are many times we should look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we have done everything we can to be a better leader and help the next group of future leaders grow. A leader’s capacity to learn can determine their capacity to lead. Ask yourself, if I stop learning, do I stop leading? Leaders must be an example to others and provide the tools to those who need them to succeed, and most importantly, we must be good listeners that are able to listen with empathy and understanding.

Leadership is not something that comes naturally for most; however it is something that can be taught and methodically developed within any organization. If we all get too busy with our job to grow, which often happens in our industry, just know that your influence and leadership will stagnate and potentially evaporate. Leadership is a mindset that must be nurtured and continuously learned to keep the tradition alive.