Why Active Listening Stinks

By Chris Sheesley
Anyone motivated to read this article already knows active listening skills through exposure to it in training and books. Yet, if you’re like most people, you find it strangely distasteful to be either the giver or receiver of active listening technique.

What Keeps Engineers from Advancing in Their Careers?

By Gary Hinkle
Chris is an engineer at a leading scientific instrument company, and his career is stuck. He hasn’t been promoted in years. He’s an Engineer III, but he thinks he should be at least a IV (out of six levels altogether). He has more than ten years of experience, and he knows he’s made several significant technical contributions to the company’s products.

Write Better. I Dare You.

By Susan de la Vergne
You’re in the airport, about to board a five-hour flight across country. You stop at the paperback stand, looking for something to read. “I’d like to find something kinda boring, something formulaic, written using a template,” you say to yourself. “I’m looking for something that’s very predictable, no surprises, and the writer should use a lot of boilerplate language.

Are You a Manager or an Engineer?

By Gary Hinkle
Jeff’s venture into engineering management isn’t quite what he expected. He manages a group of seven engineers at a semiconductor company, but he continues to work as a hands-on engineer. He’s highly regarded for his technical expertise, which is why he was offered the management position five years ago.

No Budget for That!

By Gary Hinkle
There’s a TV commercial for oil filters where the mechanic warns the customer, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.” Of course what he means is maintain your car, or wait for an expensive breakdown and an engine overhaul.

I’m a Terrible Communicator

By Gary Hinkle
People in my workshops often end up confessing that they know they’re “terrible communicators.” They say they know it’s important to listen openly, write clearly, and present well but that they don’t do it well and never have.

Heave-Ho the Status Quo

By Susan de la Vergne
We’ve read a lot in the last decade or so about whistle blowers, people who call out their bosses—or their boss’s bosses—for questionable, unethical or illegal acts. Every whistle blower spotted what seemed to be a generally accepted practice and said, “This is wrong.”

There’s No Escaping Leadership

By Gary C. Hinkle
After graduating from college, Eric’s first week on the job as an engineer presented several leadership and management challenges— but he didn’t realize at the time that’s what they were. He was just getting the work done that he was told to do, just ordinary assignments for an entry-level engineer…or so he thought.