The Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) held its first cocktail meeting since the new Council was elected into office in April this year. The event, organized on August 12, 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi was themed ‘Servant Leadership’. 

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge, who was the chief guest gave a very inspiring speech to practicing engineers and aspiring engineers. He spoke on five aspects of leadership which were: technical expertise, being bold, effective decision making, need for honest self-assessment and willingness to serve.

“Engineers need to have technical expertise in what they do so that they can be able to apply the knowledge gained in their field of specialization. Your expertise can be proved by what you offer to the country, your contribution to the development of this country. We need to avoid instances where if one is asked to do something, ‘they say they don’t know’ or have the mentality of ‘I can do something’ but in reality you aren’t in a position to do it. This creates a bad picture for the profession and injures the career of the professional.” CBK Governor stated. 

Secondly, he said that a leader needs to be bold. “Being bold means you are able to use your ambition, mission and sense of vision to challenge yourself and others. Some of us fail because we aren’t bold and we keep doing the same thing over and over again.  Prosperity in leadership calls for brevity and ethical practices.” He concluded this point by quoting a roman philosopher ‘It isn’t because things are difficult that we don’t dare, it is because we don’t dare that they are difficult.’

Further, he urged engineers to be effective decision makers. He posed the questions; what is your principle in initiating decisions? If you are asked the basis of going right instead of left, would you be in a position to give an appropriate answer? To me this is a key trait in a leader. For one to make effective decisions one needs to outline the cause or reasons to why we should go one route over another.

Dr. Njoroge also pointed out the need for self-assessment; this involves examining oneself and setting aside time to reflect and see what one can do better and more efficiently. Assessing others is also significant though it is good to not criticize or complain about other people’s performance.

Lastly, he commented on the willingness to serve. “As a boss or a leader I need to show that I care, I have a sense of fairness and that my aspirations are supported by my boss.” Employees need to feel such traits being portrayed by their bosses or leaders.

 

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