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Why should I become a Leader?

  1. Jul 1, 2012 #1
    I'm an engineer and my dream is to design products that will provide solutions to problems our world faces.
    Sometimes I question myself, why can't I just become a team member, why must I strive to be the leader of my team instead? Are there any benefits of becoming a leader? And will being a leader help make my dream come true?
    I can see the draw backs alright, such as the extra responsibilities, time and sweat put in, but there's also benefits such as glory, but is there more to wanting to become a leader than just glory?
    Why do people want to become leaders in the first place?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2012 #2
    I don't think this a topic that is specifically related to engineering.

    You may get better replies on Topix.
     
  4. Jul 1, 2012 #3
    Hi,

    new guy here, but I saw your post and felt the need to reply.

    The best advice I've heard on leadership is... A good leader never actively seeks position of leadership unless he is unknown and there is no other person truly fit for the position.

    So if you want to become a leader, then it is best that you avoid it, cause you'll be doing it for yourself instead of those whom you lead
     
  5. Jul 1, 2012 #4

    Mute

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    Homework Helper

    You don't have to strive to be a leader. You could probably be "just a team member" if you really want to. However, I would suppose that most people become leaders because they are no longer content with being "just team members". You might be content with it for now, but that could easily change, and there are lots of different possible reasons for that.

    One of them could be that you make more money. You might say you don't need more money, you're happy with your "just a team member" salary, but it's not necessarily a greed thing: as one's family grows and one wants to support them and make more opportunities available to them, the desire to have more money grows, and one way to get more money is to get promoted, and that might just lead you to getting promoted to being a leader.

    Another reason could be that you simply want to be able to do things your way or choose the problems you want to address. Maybe your team leader is taking the project in a direction that you think is stupid and you have a better idea or way to do it. Or maybe you're being assigned projects that you don't think are as important as some other project you want to work on. Well, if you were the leader then your vision for the project is the one the team follows, and you might get to chose which projects to tackle. Maybe you don't care so much now how things are done, but after many frustrating decisions by your team leader which needlessly increase your stress and workload and add to your team's overall inefficiency, you might just find yourself thinking that things might be much easier if you were in charge. At very least, you'd get to do things your way.

    Yet another reason could be that you eventually get bored doing the sorts of things you've been doing, but still want to do something related, and with all the experience you've developed over the years a leadership position seems like the best next step.

    Again, you don't have to strive for being a leader, and if you don't have the drive, you probably won't have to worry about being promoted to one - there's surely going to be someone who wants to become the leader, so unless you're just so inherently skilled at leadership that your bosses want to promote you despite your desire not to be (which is not likely), you can just let that guy/gal go ahead and get promoted to leader.
     
  6. Jul 2, 2012 #5

    Bobbywhy

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    I tend to agree with Mute above: You don't need to become a leader to "to design products that will provide solutions to problems our world faces."

    Leadership is a complicated social/psychological skill. There are many theories about how it functions. So it would not be as simple as deciding "I want to become a leader" and then doing so. Some claim that a few of us are "born leaders". Influencing others has very little to do with designing products.

    Your dream could be fulfilled if you work alone in your garage. Why do you think becoming a leader will help you realize your dream?
     
  7. Jul 3, 2012 #6
    I have heard it a little different.
    After about 5 years in an engineering position, you understand enough about
    the job to start forming your own ideas and solutions. Management ether will not listen to your ideas, or others will get credit for your ideas, and you job dissatisfaction level will go up. ( in some environments Management is attuned to up and comers and will advance you.) In many cases the best option is to advance to a position that you have earned, and can have greater input in ideas and solutions.
    I think there was a article in an engineering trade magazine around 1985 about this subject.
     
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