How can managers further develop their engineering team leaders?

Dr. Halle A. Horvath
Fellow since Oct 2016

The experience of engineers leading project teams: A case study


This inquiry focuses on the leadership experiences of engineers leading project teams. Ten face-to-face interviews were conducted with current engineers in project leadership roles. These individuals were selected by their organizational leaders and other engineers as effective project leaders. The results indicated that although these leaders do not necessarily use a common leadership style, they lead their project team members by: developing trust-based relationships, committing to the team, perspective taking, learning from experience, and utilizing the engineering mindset. Additionally, it was essential that leadership training was provided within the context of actual experiences and that the leadership approaches supported the individuals involved in a project and the work to be completed. This provides a foundation for further investigation into these leadership attributes and the relationships to each other and project outcomes, engineering leadership skill development, and developing a model of leadership that is grounded in the engineering profession.