Transforming technical conscience into applied realities (4)

A meaningful mind of an engineer understands an individual’s needs, experiences, and emotions. Meaning is interactive, selective, and value-driven. “Meaning is like a large map or web, gradually filled in by the cooperative work of countless generations.” India recognizes that youth leadership has a crucial role to play as change agents for India’s development. Young engineers have to adapt to the changing realities and keep pace with technological evolution. As nation builders, young engineers have to develop multi-faceted skills and competencies, going beyond their core specialization, including soft skill sets. We are worried too. Only 7 percent of engineering graduates are employable. We are worried because many of our engineering institutions are managed by profit-hungry management, unskilled educators, corruption, rote-learning methods.

The expectations from an engineer are different from that of a manager. The requirement of one job is ‘focussing’, whereas the need of the other job is ‘overseeing’. As an engineer, one is evaluated based on performance. A manager is evaluated based on the group’s performance. For a manager, what matters most is relationship building and conflict resolving skills. Removing bureaucratic hurdles is one of the major responsibilities of a manager. Managers are required to be conversant with the changing norms of their playing turf. The job of a manager is like that of a caretaker. A caretaker takes care of what is in place and tries to make it more efficient. The problem is engineers find it difficult to play in all turfs, ethically or otherwise. The transition from an engineer to a manager is possible provided she/he can see the big picture and can communicate it effectively. Engineers must possess strong interpersonal skills if they want to become good managers. Engineers are ‘individualistic’ by nature. They are required to develop the gelling capacity that is required in group activities if they want to become good managers. “Engineers are uniquely qualified to be managers and leaders, in large part because they understand systems-thinking so well. Once you understand that organizations are simply systems of people, you’ve got it made.”