Engineers are often credited for their high intelligence. Their ability to understand, design, and manipulate complex systems is nothing short of remarkable. However, raw intelligence alone isn’t the key to success in engineering. Equally important is smartness, the ability to apply intelligence effectively in a multitude of contexts.
Smartness encompasses emotional intelligence, the ability to take action, effective communications, and more. Successful engineers don’t merely possess high intelligence; they utilize it effectively in a variety of situations, leading to greater career success. They demonstrate adaptability, ongoing innovation, and the ability to overcome complex engineering challenges that may daunt others.
In addition, the conscious management of one’s traits, both enabling and disabling, significantly influences an engineer’s career trajectory. Enablers are traits, skills, or behaviors that amplify an engineer’s effectiveness and facilitate the full deployment of their intelligence and smartness. These may include a meticulous attention to detail, the capacity to visualize complex structures, or a relentless pursuit of optimization.
Conversely, disablers are traits, skills, or behaviors that can limit an engineer’s effectiveness and obstruct the full deployment of their intelligence and smartness. For instance, an excessive focus on perfection might lead to a slower project delivery. Just reading a book about perfectionism fails to bridge the knowing-doing gap. There are few training programs on mitigating unnecessary perfectionism.
Understanding and optimizing one’s enablers while mitigating disablers is a crucial strategy for engineers. They should recognize and comprehend these traits, endeavoring to maximize their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. They can become more proficient at driving innovation, solving complex problems, and making effective decisions. They can also become more capable
of leading their teams to success while nurturing an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration. As they advance in their careers, this continuous process grows ever more important.
Engineers should identify and comprehend these traits, endeavoring to maximize their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. As they advance in their careers, this continuous process grows ever more important. Look closely at engineers who did get repeated promotions and those who didn’t, and you’ll find one thing:
Most engineers fail to get senior promotions MORE because of their disablers (weaknesses) than because of a lack of enablers (strengths). The strengths are what brought them to this point. The weaknesses are what will hold them back from progressing higher. We have data from hundreds of assessment takers that clearly show that less successful people have more disablers than more successful people do.
Engineering professionals who grasp the importance of high intelligence, smartness, and the management of traits are better equipped to navigate their careers. They become more proficient at driving innovation, solving complex problems, and making effective decisions. They are capable of leading their teams to success while nurturing an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration… and get promoted to higher positions repeatedly.