Top 12 Personality Traits of Ultra-Successful Engineers (2023)

Becoming an engineer has never been easy and every discipline comes with great skills and is followed by even great responsibilities. Therefore, to be an ultra-successful engineer you must have a specific set of soft skills and personality traits which we’ll discuss in this article.

Many aspire to become an engineer but not everyone is given the right opportunity and has developed the courage and personality traits required to enter such career and become ultra-successful. The question is what does it take to become one of the best engineers and how can one attain these behavioral qualities and personality traits to use as an edge among others?

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Most of us are familiar with the common technical and management skills an engineer should acquire. So in this article let us focus only on the people-related skills that are mostly developed throughout our lives.

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Ultra-Successful Engineers Commonly Share These Top 12 Personality Traits

1. Trustworthy

This is one of the personality traits that are built over time with the members of the organization including your boss and team members. If the organization is built by trust then projects will most likely have a positive outcome because the team members are working better together. It is also one of the most common causes of disputes in a team, which leads to people leaving or even betraying each other.

2. Honest / Speaking the Truth

As an engineer, you should be honest even if the situation will not favor you, even if it is painful to deal and even if it contradicts the needs, desires, beliefs, and intentions of the organization. This is one of the key personality traits and the most basic job of a good engineer. Projects tend to fail with dishonesty as the problems that arise may not be addressed properly.

3. Clear Communication Skills

Engineers deal with a lot of people including those who are in the organization and the clients. It is vital to have clear communication skills as it is needed to explain instructions and present solutions and problems to both the clients and the team members. Without clear communication, the possibility of failing a project is very high. This involves both written and oral communication. It is also important to provide information in a detailed, clear and concise form of language that people would understand. This is one of the personality traits that engineers can actively work on improving over time.

4. Team Player / Good Working Relationships / Teamwork

No one can finish a project by themselves alone. You need team members to work on it in order to make it a success. Becoming the head of the project, one must be able to encourage, empower, and improve team members. It also includes acting as a role model to everyone including the bosses. This is done by doing well in the leadership role, using the resources of the company in an effective manner and spending the budgets wisely, keeping the necessary people well informed involving budget reviews and milestones, communicating well with everyone in the organization, supporting the people around you and presenting an accurate message with your bosses and clients. This is the number one personality trait that will contribute to your success as you go from being an engineer to a manager.

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5. Open Minded / Seeing the Big Picture

One of the top personality traits of a true leader is his or her outlook towards life. An engineer must not just focus on the small problems or immediate needs; it is important to see the big picture like how is the project going to impact the organization in terms of manufacturing, facilities, the use of components, budgets, use of currently available products and resources, and the earnings that will be brought to the company. Part of this is presenting project plans and schedule forecasting for manufacturing. This is why it is important to have an open mind in cases of adjustments and changes in the project plans.

6. Thinking Ahead / Being Ready for the Unexpected

This is one of the personality traits that separate a few from the many. It is important for an engineer to think ahead and identify the possible problems that might arise so that when it happens it would be easier for the issue to be addressed. One must be able to also see and take advantage of the opportunities that come in. Thinking about the long term effect of it and how it can benefit the company. If you always think about more than one solution, then if the first fails you’ll be ready to implement the second.

7. Effectively Managing Risks

Project plans are not always perfect and problems may arise anytime and something could go wrong. This involves the steps that you have foreseen and those you didn’t anticipate. One of the rare personality traits of a successful engineer is to effectively manage these risks and prevent it from happening again. Building a team of experts who have complementing skills will be quite helpful.

8. Setting Realistic yet Challenging Goals

It is normal for one person to impress everyone especially if you have plans of gaining a higher position, but developing plans that are too ambitious to achieve will not make it any better. Projects like that would eventually result in poor or incomplete results. It’s something that will not benefit both the company and the engineer. Projects’ goals must be specific meaning achievable and in detail while being challenging enough to encourage and push team members to pursue them. It must also be measurable, attainable, tangible and following a time frame.

9. Minimizing Complexity

It takes time to familiarize someone in the complexities of a project as it differs from each other. One must understand thoroughly the plans, schedules, and budgets that will be part of the project, so as the risks that are involved in it. A great engineer will be able to explain a task, project or set of goals in simple terms so that it can be understood smoothly. This is one of the personality traits that are tough to have as the work we do becomes more complicated.


10. Assuming / Taking Ownership / Taking Action

Assumptions are always part of every plan, an example of this is assuming the number of new products that will be sold (forecasting), profitability, competitor’s action, availability of products, and the demands of the products. Also, there are times that you are on your own, running out of time, and must make a decision, you must take control of the situation and take action to stop a disaster from happening. What will you do? This is one of the personality traits that are tough to find, but when found it is one that is invested in heavily.

11. Team Building Characteristics

This is one the most crucial of the personality traits if you’re aiming to continue your career in a leadership or management position. As every part of the team will play an important role in every project and most team members require guidance and a direction to be given to. It is vital that the team leader knows the strengths and weaknesses of each member to maximize their roles in a project and to improve those weaknesses over time, hence building a stronger team.

12. Knowledge Utilization

Knowledge is power, but it is not always what you know, it’s how you use it, which makes this one of the personality traits that are extremely hard to master. Although most engineers within the same discipline share the same knowledge, not everyone uses that knowledge in the same way. This is primarily because it’s a special skill to organize our thoughts and implement them properly. This is a huge advantage during the planning and execution process of every project as one can share information that can be vital in ensuring that a project will be a success.

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