An ethical leader is simply someone who is fair and just. They lead a company in a way that is equitable across the organisation as a whole, not giving any form of preferential treatment to any individual or group of individuals.

The values that define an ethical leader include honesty, empathy, consideration, demonstrating strong moral principles, accountability, and respect.

For an engineering company, these ethics extend into the public arena. Engineers literally shape the world around us, working on projects that form the built environment and public transport infrastructure, creating systems that are going to house, feed and mobilise populations. Public health, safety and welfare are at the forefront of engineering ethics – which means that the leader of an engineering company must act with integrity, avoid deception, and recognise the limits of their competency.

In the same way that an engineering company needs to promote public confidence in its commitment to fulfilling its professional obligations, so do those seeking engineering jobs need to feel the same confidence in their potential employers. Assuming that the values of honesty, empathy, accountability, and integrity are present as a matter of course, our four-step guide clarifies how best to trickle this down to the team who are fulfilling the roles advertised by these engineering jobs.

  1. Understand your team’s needs

Being a leader requires you to balance a wide range of disparate needs, the needs of the project, client, suppliers, and your employees. It is too easy for your workforce to be at the bottom of a very long list while you are firefighting the loudest and most immediate issues.

However, there is a reason why you recruited these people into these engineering jobs, and instead of them being problems, they should be your solutions. The more you understand your team to execute their skills and professionalism in a way that is beneficial to all involved, the more successful the conclusion of any project. Through creating an open and transparent working culture, you are working in a way that is both equitable and fair and fulfilling the requirements installed in your commitment to engineering ethics.

  1. Lead by example

The American entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn once said of leadership: “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.”

As an ethical leader, you need to be able to walk with your workforce while leading from the front. Be the boss you want to be, not the one you want to escape from.

  1. Support your team to grow

With so many skills gaps among engineering jobs at the moment, the competition to fill the vacancies with qualified and competent people is tough. Those coming onto the market are looking for the next step in their career. Recognising their hunger and ambition and responding accordingly with support and encouragement is a key element of being an ethical leader.

  1. Develop a growth mindset

While remaining positive when the going gets tough is important – even more crucial is learning from any mistakes. Engineering is a precise discipline, but that does not mean that all engineers conduct themselves with perfection at all times – rather, mistakes can happen along the way. A growth mindset learns from these mistakes. As Carole Dweck, psychologist and author of The Growth Mindset, said, “People start with different temperaments and different aptitudes, but it is clear that experience, training and personal effort take them the rest of the way.”

If you are looking to recruit the very best engineers to help grow your company, upload your vacancy here.