“Communication is the route we go through to get information out so that everybody can do a good job.” – Pamela A. Scott
In this episode, I interviewed Pamela A. Scott, an executive coach to CEOs and business owners, focusing on communication, managing people, leadership, and emotional intelligence. You might have seen some of the inspirational articles she has authored on The Engineering Management Institute blog before. She’s also been a guest speaker for EMI’s program, The Civil Engineering Collective and in this episode, we talked about how engineers can grow and advance their careers by discussing certain skills all engineers need and can always improve upon.
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Top Skills All Engineers Need to Excel in for Their Careers:
- To improve your communication, learning how to ask questions correctly will help you get the information you need. Understand that a client cannot read your mind, and you cannot read theirs. Communication is the only way that you and your client can understand what the other one wants or needs.
- A conversation is a two-way, circular process. When someone talks to you, you will hear it and interpret it through your life experiences, and vice versa. Many factors from life experiences determine how one interprets how they understand what they hear. Not having the ability to read someone’s mind is what makes communication difficult. Asking good questions and listening attentively to the answers is the only way to have good communication.
- Engineers must show initiative. If you see something that must be addressed, good or bad, then get up and tell somebody who is in the position to get it seen to. It could be something that you see, but your boss is not aware of it. If you don’t step up and talk about these things, you are sitting back and hoping that someone is reading your mind. For you to grow and move forward in your career, you need to take chances. Taking initiative is one of the chances you must take so that the leadership in the company can see that they can depend on you.
- To get good answers with as much information as possible (not simple yes or no answers), you must ask good questions. To do it, you must ask probing questions that dig deeper based on the 5Ws-and-an-H rule. What, when, where, why, who, and how. Try asking five questions on each subject to dive deep and understand what the person is saying.
- To understand how an engineering business operates, you must think of the position you are currently working in. You go to work, get your job done, and then go home at the end of the day. To truly understand how an engineering business works, you must know what everyone else in all the different positions in the business are doing. Look at how they all fit together and work toward the company goal. It is career-enhancing for engineers to understand how the engineering business operates. Look for a course that focuses on how engineering businesses work to further your knowledge and maybe attract the attention of your superiors.
- Engineers must continue learning, look for opportunities, and find resources on growing their careers.