It used to be that someone in a leadership role was regarded as having been appointed to that position—or even anointed with it. The person became a “leader” simply by achieving a certain status or title within the company.
The myth was that when you reached a certain grade level or acquired a certain job title, you had arrived. You were finally a leader.
If those days ever existed, they are certainly long-gone now. Leadership is not something you get appointed to or promoted into.
To succeed in today’s fast-paced business world, leadership is a characteristic you have to exhibit from Day 1, regardless of the job or title you have.
Business aviation is noexception. Since flight departments are a microcosm of the parent company and physically removed from the headquarters location, it’s even more important for the success of the operation that everyone exhibits the traits of a leader.
But how do you do that?
Here are 6 Ways to Think and Act Like a Leader
Note: I’ve provided leadership self-assessment questions so you can ask yourself how well you’re doing.
Leaders are inspirational.They possess an unwavering and positive view of the future and ignite people in their vision of what’s possible. They clearly articulate what’s “over the next hill” and foresee no limits on opportunity. They practice breakthrough thinking and are constantly innovating.
If there’s one trait of a leader that is infectious, it’s the zeal for possibility and achievement. The words of Robert F. Kennedy come to mind: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?”
Self-Assessment – Do I project optimism? Do I find the positive side of tough or controversial issues? Do I always think in terms of what’s possible?
Leaders are “walking billboards” for the values of the parent company. They reflect the “greater good” in decision-making and are unquestionable in their integrity.
Leaders hold themselves accountable to the same standards as everyone else. They support you and are someone who “has your back.” They are honest and have the courage to always do the right thing,as difficult as that may sometimes be.
Self-Assessment– Do I come across as genuine and authentic? Am I humble and empathetic? Does anyone question the motives behind what I say? Am I without bias? Do I provide a “level playing field” for everyone and every issue?
Leaders constantly promote an atmosphere of collaboration and shared success among all department team members, regardless of their own work group affiliation. For example, pilots team up with scheduling and maintenance teams up with accounts payable.
Leaders subordinate personal goals to the greater good of the team or larger organization. They value team success over personal accomplishment. They actively seek to understand both sides of an issue and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
Self-Assessment– Do I foster positive and productive interpersonal relationships? Do I project a style that builds alliances within the organization and erases divisions? Do I actively partner with all corporate support functions? Am I seen as someone who goes out of their way to understand both sides of the issue?
Leaders set direction,break down barriers and provide resources so that others in the organization can do their jobs. This can be done at any level.
Whether you are a scheduler,maintenance technician or a pilot, you can act in a way that empowers others. Leaders trust their fellow team members and they look for ways to create organizational alignment by supporting others in doing their jobs.
Self-Assessment– Do I look for ways to “let go” and support others in the organization? Is there a major department initiative or a project that is at a standstill? What can I do to help break it free and achieve the objective? How can I help others in the organization succeed?
Leaders are excellent communicators. They motivate others through clear, compelling and honest dialogue, both written and verbal. They are credible, easy to understand and informative.
They are articulate and provide clarity in all that they say. They speak frankly and debate at the table, not behind other’s backs. They deal with differences of opinion in constructive ways. They are active listeners.
Self-Assessment– Am I straightforward and honest in what I say? Do I take the time to really “hear”the other side of the story? Am I present, in the moment and do I continually seek and learn from feedback? Do I make time for everyone who wants to speak with me?
Leaders are willing to make difficult decisions. They make well-reasoned, responsible and timely decisions based upon the information available.
They communicate their decisions and action plans in clear, unambiguous language. Leaders demonstrate the courage required to make decisions driven by fact and the limits of corporate policy.
Self-Assessment– Do I always make decisions in terms of what’s best for the organization? Am I afraid to make hard decisions? Am I seen as fair and equitable? Am I willing to be a credible influencer in the aftermath or implementation of my decisions?
Leaders are needed in all walks of life. You are not just a leader in your professional world. Leaders are needed in families, communities, churches and volunteer organizations.
Regardless of your role or your position, showing up like a leader will always produce remarkable results for you and those around you.
What have you done to think and act like a leader? We’d be interested in knowing your approaches(what’s worked, what hasn’t, etc.). Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.