Mitchell, thanks for the comment. There has been a lot of discussion of what does leadership means in the context of civil engineering, let alone leadership versus management. (Disclosure- I am part of the ASCE Committee on developing leaders). I recommend starting by reading what others have written about the subject ...
I encourage you to read the leadership material in the ASCE 2025 Vision statement and the ASCE Civil Engineering body of knowledge. For my own reading, I found the article by Toor on the subject to be my go-to starting point ...Toor, Shamas-ur-Rehman. "Differentiating leadership from management: An empirical investigation of leaders and managers." Leadership and Management in Engineering 11, no. 4 (2011): 310-320.
Toor wrote this article in a now-defunct ASCE journal on leadership. The article is now available at no charge to ASCE members ... I have attached it to this article ...
I shared a similar reaction as you on the lack of practical guidance to leadership development. I worked with two other great collaborators on a 2021 paper to develop a framework based on my professional experience and published research. We published a leadership paper that discussed leadership development (experiential pathways). For copyright purposes, I am enclosing an earlier draft of the final paper that has the leadership discussion starting on page 9 of 17. It builds on the Toor framework from 2011.
Subsequent to the 2021 paper, we started mapping out the "leadership step function" set out in the 2021 paper and presented the CDL with the first draft of a schematic model for leadership development that maps into the ASCE engineering grades (2007 edition). (Currently, there is no mention of leadership in the ASCE grades.)
The model was meant to do exactly what you discussed. Present an engineering career lifecycle model and give the young engineer a self-assessment tool to assist them in developing their own leadership capabilities. The thinking is that this would be a complementary model to the current form of the Engineering grades which is HR-centric and not very useful for self-assessment.
I think you would be a great addition to the committee's efforts and I encourage you to join CDL in this effort.
Best to you ...
Michael O'Connor ,P.E., M.ASCE
Silver Spring MD
Sent: 02-16-2022 09:23 PM
From: Mitchell Winkler
Subject: Does ASCE Need to Create a Generic Leadership Ladder?
Is anyone aware of a leadership ladder of general applicability to civil engineers? Picture a matrix of skills / competencies vs expectations at different level of responsibility or years into one's career. An example might Building Shared Vision. The expectations for someone early in their career are quite low while senior staff and certainly executives would be expected to be able to create and compelling visions at both the company and project levels that inspires all stakeholders and motivates staff.
I'm thinking specifically about a ladder to benefit the mentoring of younger and mid-career staff. Leadership skills are easy to talk about in the abstraction. A leadership ladder would provide a measurable set of goals that could help peel back the fog. I'm also curious as to views on why ASCE should not make a generic matrix available. Maybe one might argue that leadership is a competitive 'secret sauce' and not something to be shared. I don't buy in to this view.
Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE