Dear Eno Alumni,

We are over a month into 2017 and we have already witnessed a great amount of change. With a new President and Administration in office, it is likely that we will see many new developments in the world of transportation over the next four years.

Despite the major differences between the new and old Administrations, it is important as an industry that we continue to work towards increasing safety, improving our country’s infrastructure, and fostering innovative technologies that can help make transportation easy, safe, and accessible for all.

Transportation always needs good leaders, but in times of great change or innovation, it is even more important that we have strong leaders.

Industry expertise and commitment to the job will never diminish as key ingredients for strong leadership and they are characteristics that run deep in the transportation community. But there are also other skills, soft skills, that make a person a more well-rounded leader that are not always emphasized.

The phrase ‘soft skills’ is a synonym for ‘people skills’ or interpersonal skills. It’s the skills that allow you to communicate and relate to others in your daily life or in the workplace. Particularly in the workplace, soft skills are critical. A boss may have all the knowledge in the world and the best intentions, but if they fail to properly communicate their goals and build relationships with their employees, they can fail to lead and motivate, diminishing the effectiveness of their team.

Soft skills are not always innate and sometimes take time to develop. Like a muscle, often they need to be trained to become strong. Transit agencies and organizations are complex entities that need strong leaders, but also those with the ability to hone the softer side of leadership – the day to day management of their teams that pays off dividends during the tougher times.

The Eno leadership classes that you participated in work to develop all of these skills, so that leaders such as yourselves can return to your organizations and effectively lead and motivate your employees.

Progress, both good and bad, will continue to shape and change transportation, but as long as we have you – strong, well-rounded leaders at the helm – our industry will continue to thrive.

Thank you for continuing to lead and grow our industry,

Alex Bond
Director, Center for Transportation Leadership
Eno Center for Transportation