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I agree with Donald Baker about his statement and I quote;
“Communication is always a good place to start”
I mentored and coached different professionals about being an effective leaders and effective communicator.
Let me suggest about our attitude in a two-way communication. Attitude is a manner of thinking, feeling, or behaving that reflects a state of mind or disposition. Attitudes are more difficult to assess than knowledge and skills, yet attitudes affect behavior, which certainly can be measured.
Below is an excerpt of the attached article (Attitude of Professional Civil Engineer) that I had submitted to our department newsletter.
“An exhaustive list of appropriate attitudes would be difficult to compile. In the present case, the significant attitudes are those that support the effective practice of civil engineering. A partial list of those attitudes might include commitment, confidence, and consideration of others, curiosity, fairness, high expectations, honesty, integrity, intuition, good judgment, optimism, persistence, positive, respect, self-esteem, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, thoroughness and tolerance.”
We are all professional engineers except most of us are licensed professional engineer or licensed/registered civil engineer. It does not matter whether you are licensed or not, we need to communicate better and have a positive attitude in our career or profession.Therefore, positive attitude is one of the good moral values of our human conduct in our profession.
Since I am licensed and practiced in Maryland, I find I have to agree with Ben Allen. :-)That said, I also agree with Dr. Ryan's assessment, but would respectfully add one point. Rachel has an obligation to her firm, to make them aware of her concerns, so that they can decide if there is any firm liability.In the scenario set forth, it seems to me there is a more important issue to Rachel than the ethical dilemma. We spend more waking hours in our place of employment than anywhere else. If the workplace is causing stress to the extent that the individual is experiencing sleep or other health issues, that is an indication the employee either needs to move to a different position within the firm, or move to a different firm.
May I begin by expressing my humble apology for not having read the actual case itself as it was not available to me. But reading the brief paragraph by Steve Starrett, I feel the urge to say this is not an ethical issue; it is more of a specific company’s system failure. Rachel must not worry or lose sleep over what she has carried out within her experience and the responsibilities she has been trusted in.
To my experience, Rachel’s case is not unique. It is just another tiny stroke of the bell wanting to alarm us. Therefore, here I would like to replace the name of the Rachel to “The Engineer” as there are thousands of Rachel, Andy or Brian are out there in similar circumstances.
We need to remember that engineers are not made over a night. Like babies born to this world, Engineers to our engineering world need to be nurtured and guided until they become the person we would need them to be and fit into the roles and responsibilities they ought to be trusted in.
Whatever task the Engineer is carrying out, a simple calculation, complex analysis or writing up specifications, all need to be checked by another knowledgeable person in the same discipline to ensure the quality of the works. And, if I may add, it is the responsibility of the project managers to facilitate for that to happen. Success or failure of a task is a shared responsibility from the top to the bottom of the team. It is not for the Engineer to go around to ask am I or is my work “absolutely perfect”? To start with, in my opinion, there is no such thing as “absolutely perfect” in our engineering world; there would be no room for improvement otherwise. We all strive to improve our world through innovations and improvement of our methods of design and construction and that is happening through the challenging tasks we are facing every day. Those challenging tasks are gauging the gaps still needs to be filled in; hence we can look at “perfect” as an infinite we may never reach.
As for “Ethics”, we must not mistake a Technical Shortfall and System Failure with Ethics. Engineers must not compromise the Engineering Profession and the responsibilities they have been trusted in, by means of misconduct and unacceptable behaviour for personal gains. Having said that, “Leadership”, “Teamwork” and “Effective Communications” plays a significant role in preventing Ethical Misconduct, Technical Shortfall and System Failure.
I wish I could have more time to further discuss this matter.
Maritime and Civil Engineer
BEng.(Hons), CEng., MICE, CMarEng., FIMarEST, FRINA, Aff.M.ASCE