Leadership Lessons from an Airline

On a recent trip, I sat in the same row as a ground systems manager for a large airline. There was a delay in leaving and boarding had been done in a non-standard way. Several of us commented on the change we had noticed and the longer delay caused by the changes. The manager listened closely, asked a few questions then sent a text to his ground crew. Once we were airborne, I asked him how he had addressed the matter with his crew. Here are the tips he offered:


  1. As leaders, we are coaches more than anything else.
  2. Value people. Make certain they feel and experience that they can speak their mind.
  3. Never correct harshly. Ask questions, get their solutions; encourage a “different next time”.
  4. The people who train our teams are the key to system success. Trainers need great attitude over great aptitude.