Leadership Matrix for Engineers in Society by H.O.B. Lawal

If all Engineers could imbibe the qualities of leadership through their profession, experience in other areas and through talk of this nature, then the nation’s problems of inability to meet the target of Millennium Development Goals, power sustainability and maintenance of infrastructure would be a thing of the past.
Case 1:

On January 15, 2009, Sullenberger was pilot in command of an Airbus A320 from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. The flight was designated as US Airways Flight 1549 as well as United Airlines Flight 1919. Shortly after taking off, Sullenberger reported to air traffic control that the plane had hit a large flock of birds, disabling both engines. Several passengers saw the left engine on fire. Sullenberger discussed with air traffic control the possibilities of either returning to LaGuardia airport or attempting to land at the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. However, Sullenberger quickly decided that neither was feasible, and determined that ditching in the Hudson River was the only option for everyone’s survival. Sullenberger told the passengers to “brace for impact,” thLeadership Matrix for Engineers in Society by H.O.B. Lawalen piloted the plane to a water landing in the Hudson River at about 3:31 p.m. All passengers and crew members survived.

Case 2
A Chief Engineer was deeply napping in his car when his driver refused to show a simple courtesy at a busy road junction in Lagos. Apparently the traffic on the side of the Chief Engineer’s car was heavy and at a standstill. Then suddenly there was a slight movement of traffic and the Chief Engineer’s driver (like most of our drivers) seized the opportunity to impatiently and selfishly move forward thereby blocking the flow of traffic in the direction perpendicular to his side. The napping Chief Engineer was then suddenly woken up by the blaring of horns from vehicles at the junction.
The Chief Engineer was still busy wiping his face when a gorgeously dressed lady (who could easily pass for a Cleopatra) walked up to him and recognized the NSE logo and the year’s slogan – Think Technology, etc on his car.
The lady simply said;’ “Oga Engineer, haba, as a supposed leader and bulwark against societal decadence, you should have taught your driver to know better; please try and educate him on simple road courtesies”. Of course the Chief Engineer was thoroughly embarrassed and he begged for forgiveness on behalf of his driver.
 That short narration simply summarizes the high esteem in which we as Engineers are held in our societies. To whom much is given, much is expected is a popular saying; hence the high expectations of the society for leadership by example from the Engineer.
 Engineers’ leadership matrix 
At no other time in the history of our country has this topic been more appropriate than this period of national leadership crisis where everybody looks up to the Engineers as the Nation’s Beacon of Hope. It stands to reason that we can’t be Beacons of Hope without being good leaders.
Leadership Matrix for Engineers in Society by H.O.B. Lawal

 

 What is leadership?
 Leadership is a thing, which enjoys the privilege of being a universal quality which every man or woman desires, to be able to direct or control the affairs of a group of people to the extent of positively influencing their actions and opinions.
 Leadership Matrix is therefore the “elixir” of life for the positive growth of any society in line with modern trends. A quick analogy is a society or product that is not doing well.  People often attribute the poor performance to a “leadership problem.”
 When a product is not moving well, nobody blames the product or the market. Usually people say that it is a management (leadership) problem. There are bound to be problems in the market but an astute management (leadership) will always rise to meet the demands of the market. The product in this case is Nigeria nation which nobody can fault.
 The “market” is members of the public who for their passion for our product are willing to join hands with us (Engineers). The managers of the product are supposed to be the Engineers. The elected shareholders of the company are politicians. The Board of Directors are the Governors and President. The Chairman/CEO is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Leadership attributes
 Analogies of leadership attributes of captain Sully
1.      Believe in yourself and be capable to achieve the goal. When Captain Sully found that the two engines are no longer working, he pondered on the two options available and soon realized that none of them were feasible. Then he look at another option and “believe” it could work out.
2.       Moral values, be unselfish. Put others before self and all things would be easy for you. Captain Sully could have easily save himself when all look hopeless. Not only were the passengers saved, he was also the last person to come out of the plane after the emergency rescue
3.        Character Accountable articulate communication confident cooperative empathetic flexibility loyal responsible reliable team player etc
4.        Abide by the ethic of the professional calling. No short cut
5.      It must be in one’s character to always do something for others. In doing so, one must be
6.       Adequate knowledge and Skill about what you are about to set out to do. Captain Sully has knowledge about the possibility of landing an aircraft on water and He possesses the skills to apply the knowledge of landing on water.
7.            Led and gave Direction: While performing this act, he is able to give direction to members of the crew and the passengers
8.      Decision: A good and effective leader must know when to take decisions and also motivate his team to follow his direction and guide.
Why are we here?
 All of us are leaders, as we have all chosen to influence the actions of all Nigerian in promoting patriotism and service to our country. One may be tempted to think that, given our successful educational, professional and occupational background, this type of topic may not be necessary after all. This is only true up to a point.
 Beyond this point however, we have to fine-tune our leadership abilities and potentialities to recognize the Nigerian nation’s demand for fast growth, harmonize our different backgrounds and make us more relevant to finding solutions to the challenges posed by the complexities of modern day political and engineering problems.
 The problems are many and varied…
Except in the area of power generation and distribution, perhaps the focus of attention should now move away from undertaking new construction to maintaining existing infrastructure.
 Whereas, construction activities usually involves projects with a defined start and finish; conversely maintenance is continuous. Whereas design and construction are dominated by engineering issues, maintenance is essentially a management (nay leadership) problem.
The improvement of maintenance often involves institutional reform, human resources development and changes to management (nay leadership) practices before addressing technical issues. Usually a pothole on any road starts as a pinhole but because of the aforementioned (leadership) problem, a pinhole is inadvertently allowed to developed into a gulley
 In many countries including Nigeria it has proved to be very difficult for maintenance to be carried out effectively, resulting in rapid deterioration of many roads. Naturally rehabilitation and sometimes emergency reconstruction becomes mandatory when a road deteriorates beyond its elastic limit and plastic limit respectively.
What are our challenges as engineers?
Our mono economy which is now depressed, our political situation which is not progressing and incessant threat of instability and war bordering on avarice, lust for affluence/power, penchant for perpetuation in office and unbridled use of power, lack of compromise and understanding of our diverse culture, lack of courage and wisdom to recognize excellence and accept defeat.
 Above all, is disconnect between the Engineers and the political class. Politicians don’t see Engineers as their partners in progress; rather they see Engineers as subordinates who must just obey instructions without asking questions. We must learn to be persuasive in our dealings with politicians.
 A good example is the inability of the political class to connect with the engineers to give Nigeria its pride of place in matters of sustainable electricity supply, maintenance of our engineering infrastructure and the achievement of Millennium Development Goals.
 The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were officially established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, consequent upon the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 189 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve these goals by year 2015
 We are now in 2015 and very unfortunately, Nigeria is very far away from accomplishing the goals, to the extent that we have had to move the 2015 date to 2020 ?? 
Conclusion:
The truth is that the excruciating awesomeness of the present day depressed economy/polity is enough to unwittingly frustrate a good number of us, if talks like this one are not organized to tickle us back on to the track of our responsibilities as leaders
If all Engineers could imbibe the qualities of leadership through their profession, experience in other areas and through talk of this nature, then the nation’s problems of inability to meet the target of Millennium Development Goals, power sustainability and maintenance of infrastructure would be a thing of the past.

 

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