Leadership Essentials: Partnering & Teaming

Author By Steve Brechter

In a recent blog, ,we outlined the six key competencies of leadership that everyone should demonstrate.

The point is that everyone—regardless of organizational position or grade band—is a leader.

That means everyone in the flight department needs to “show up” like a leader. Especially if the flight department intends to deliver the service levels that its executive passengers deserve and expect.


In this companion blog, we’ll look deeper at one of the six essential competencies required in leadership,and that is “Partnering & Teaming.”

Whether you’re a current or aspiring leader, you’ll need a solid understanding of how to “Partner &Team” and how to demonstrate it to those around you.

Partnering & Teaming Defined

“Partnering & Teaming”is the ability to achieve objectives by creating alliances and building relationships with all stakeholders and resource groups. It’s about leveraging those alliances and relationships to realize the objectives of the department.

It’s about promoting an atmosphere of collaboration and shared success among all team members, both within the flight department and with other organizations in your parent company. You need them all to be working with you to win.

How to go About Partnering & Teaming

Exactly how is “Partnering & Teaming” done?Here are some key ways to show it each and every day.

1.  Subordinate Personal Interests for the Advancement of the Team

Team success is more important than your own personal preference, so show that you value and promote “the greater good” of the department over your own personal agenda.

The outcome is what counts.

A word of caution: You may have to “give” a little to“get” buy-in and achieve the goal. Just remember that your objective is to reach the finish line. You’ll get there much quicker on big projects or department initiatives by practicing a “give and take” strategy.

The outcome is always better when you subordinate personal interests and incorporate the perspectives of others.


2.  Foster Positive and Productive Relationships

Don’t walk around bearing a grudge or show up with a chip on your shoulder. Instead, be seen as the “eternal optimist” who looks for ways to bring people together in ways that create a win-win for everyone. Of course, you need to do so in a genuine way.

Work does not have to be a “zero sum” game, that is, where one party wins and the other party loses. Find a solution that makes everyone a winner.

Actively seek input from others and encourage and listen to different viewpoints and perspectives.Help people understand the role they play in projects or department objectives and “draw them in” to the problem solving experience.


3.  Build Alliances Across the Department and with Corporate Support Functions

When you take time to coordinate efforts across functional groups and take advantage of resources from corporate support organizations, you build alliances.

For instance, if your flight department is hiring pilots or maintenance technicians, reach out to your HR Business Partner from corporate. Involve him or her in the interview process, not just the final approval.

Are you building your budget for the upcoming fiscal or calendar year? Involve your Finance Business Partner in creating a table of assumptions to accompany the budget submittal.

To build alliances, it’s essential to bring in fresh ideas, information, suggestions and expertise from everyone you can, both inside and outside of the flight department team.


4.  Share Critical Expertise and Knowledge

Support your fellow aviation team members by offering your knowledge and experience toward the solution of the department’s problems or the achievement of tough objectives.

In today’s fast-paced world, “knowledge is power” only when you combine and leverage the collective expertise of the team. That’s when the best decisions are made.

Planning a complex international trip where the optimum route takes you over hostile territory? Involve your corporate security team in assessing the risk. Your skill in operations and their skill in risk mitigation is a winning combination.

Remember the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tsu: “The leader with the most influence and power is the leader who most gives it away.”


5.  Reach Out and Learn from Others

Even if you are the flight department director, you’re not expected to know it all. Nobody does. So use your networks, both inside and outside the department, to help deliver innovative solutions and effectively achieve performance objectives.

You can learn from others by being aware of business aviation best practices. Not sure of what’s going on? Check it out by attending a NBAA Regional Forum or the annual NBAA Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (BACE).

You must be willing to be hands-on and reach out to see what others are doing. “Partnering & Teaming”is about sharing your knowledge in a reciprocal way to get insight into the best practices of others in the industry and to return the favor when asked.

In the end, Partnering & Teaming is about teamwork.

It’s about taking the lead in supporting your colleagues—both inside and outside your flight department. It’s also about collaborating with everyone you can to achieve the flight department’s performance targets and goals.


Your Turn

What techniques have you used to Partner & Team in your flight department? We’re interested in knowing what they are. Feel free to share your ideas with us (and our readers) in the comments section below and we’ll include them in a future blog.