Flying Your Plane

In my job, I have the opportunity to fly to various parts of  United States. I admit flying makes me a bit nervous, but I have learned some interesting leadership lessons by observing the role of the pilot. Consider the following ideas: 1. Every pilot has a co-pilot - a trusted companion who is just as capable of flying the plane as the pilot - a leader in his/her own right who can do everything the pilot can do. As a leader, do you have one of these individuals? If you do, are you encouraging his/her growth or are you fearful that one day they will "take over" the pilot's seat?

2. Every pilot focuses on flying the plane - I've been on many flights, but I have yet to see a single pilot serve a beverage. The pilot is at the 40,000 foot level, reading the instrument panel, and ensuring the plane is heading toward its final destination. Are you a leader who is bogged down in details? Are you taking the job of your "cabin team" by getting too involved in their day-to-day operations while your department or organization is flying in the wrong direction?

3. Every pilot knows when turbulence is coming - I've experienced some bumpy flights in my travels, but each time I had a warning from the pilot that turbulence was ahead and an encouragement to buckle up for my safety. Are you able to tell when your organization is facing storms? Are you warning your team about the impending danger? Are you helping them come through those bumpy times unharmed?

4. Every pilot knows the destination and even the weather that we will encounter when we get there - I have yet to fly with a pilot who didn't know our ultimate destination - even better, he/she has always been able to tell me the estimated temperature and general weather condition for our arrival time. Do you know where your team is heading? Can you tell your team the outlook they can expect when you get there?

In short, are you flying your plane?