Print this page Print this page

The Right Choice: Applying Ethics and Leadership to Engineering

William A. (Bill) Brant, J.D., P.E. and COL (Ret.) Bruce A. Brant

Course Outline

Does leadership really matter? The 20th Century proved that leaders do matter, whether for good or bad. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt were all giant political and world leaders. The issue today is really, whether society today can create enough leaders at all levels to provide productive, global societies working together now and in the future.

At the start of the 21st Century, the United States of America was the most powerful nation, economically and militarily since the Roman Empire. Technology and globalization promised peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, a year into the 21st Century, the promised potential is not being realized. Terrorism is plaguing many societies around the world. The American culture seems to be collapsing. Politics and politicians are dysfunctional. Instead of bringing societies together, political "leaders" are polarizing the world. Cheating corporate leaders and politicians are causing a lack of trust, not only in America, but throughout the world.

A U.S. New & World Report article (October 31, 2005) entitled, "Poll: A Leadership Deficit," shows the public has high confidence in today's military and medical leadership and very low confidence in the U.S. Congress and the executive branch. "Americans are highly critical of the current state of the nation's leadership." Clearly, leadership is lacking.

The Right Choice: Applying Ethics and Leadership to Engineering, takes the military model for leadership, Be-Know-Do, and converts it for civilian, technology, and engineering use.

The Right Choice starts with ethics. Ethics provides trust. Leaders must have trust above and below them in any organization to maximize their effectiveness.

After ethics, The Right Choice, provides leadership traits and skills proven by a U.S. Army commander at the brigade, battalion, battery/company, and lower levels. The military leadership skills are converted for civilian use and applicability.

Then, The Right Choice, portends organizational changes in corporations. As corporate structure changes and the need for "knowledge workers" increases, leadership will become more vital than ever before to the organization.

Following organizational changes, The Right Choice, develops the Society-Technology-Liberty/Individual relationship triangle and shows how technology is integrated into society while balancing individual liberties. To avoid technological disaster, individuals and society must evaluate the risk and harm for each new technology.

Often confused as one in the same, the differences between leadership and management are explained.

Lastly, excellence in leadership is presented. The action or Do component is explained as well as barriers to leadership. The selection of an excellent leader, Jon M. Huntsman, brings the course together with an example.

Learning Objective

At the end of The Right Choice, you will learn:

Intended Audience

Anyone interested in becoming a better leader is a candidate for this course.

Benefit to Attendees

The course provides the ethical, leadership tools to make you a better leader in life, not just at work, but in your personal life as well.

Course Introduction

Leadership is important whenever two or more human beings try to accomplish an objective. This leadership course provides you with the leadership traits and skills necessary for you to become a leader at that point in your life when you are called upon to take charge and lead other people. It may be your family or at work, but these traits and skills will make you a better leader. Knowing what makes a leader is the first step toward becoming a leader.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (294 KB) The Right Choice: Applying Ethics and Leadership to Engineering. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

By applying ethical and leadership principles applicable from military leadership and technology, you will:

1. Create and sustain core ethical values and an honor code.
2. Provide trust, thus eliminating fear.
3. Consider the needs, particularly of your followers, but also of your customers, suppliers, financiers, local communities and society.
4. Set obtainable standards and sustain them with a clear vision of purpose.
5. Empower workers through training and the freedom to act with responsibility and accountability.
6. Inspire, encourage, and recognize followers' contributions.

Course References and Links

Course references, endnotes, websites, and acknowledgments are provided with the Course Content.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.