Transitioning to a Leadership Role | AIChE

You are here

Transitioning to a Leadership Role


The skills that make engineers and scientists successful in a technical role are not the same as those required by leadership positions. To be effective leaders, technical experts must expand their skillset to manage time efficiently, communicate clearly, and overcome conflict.

This article is based on the AIChE-Wiley book Leadership by Engineers and Scientists: Professional Skills Needed to Succeed in a Changing World

Engineers and scientists often ascend to leadership and management positions after establishing a track record of success in a technical role. Despite technical competency and good intentions, feelings of frustration and anxiety may confront these individuals as they adapt to the new job. They generally find that the traits and mindsets that led to success in the past are no longer as relevant to their present leadership role, where soft skills may take precedence over engineering know-how.

Technical experts are trained in fundamental principles and methods to solve complex technical problems where simple and exact answers are not always available. While this is challenging, engineers in leadership positions are faced with even more complexity. They must oversee the solving of the same issues while also considering the intersection of technical and personnel problems (i.e., sociotechnical problems).

This article addresses the transition engineers and scientists must undergo to achieve success in technical leadership and management roles. To be effective leaders, technical experts must first look to expand their skillset to manage time and efforts under stressful conditions, communicate clearly, and handle conflict...

Would you like to access the complete CEP Article?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. AIChE Membership

    You must be an AIChE member to view this article. Join now.

Copyright Permissions 

Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.