Arriving at Good Leadership

Arriving at Good Leadership

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a professional airline pilot?  Imagine the experience and training required to earn an Airline Transport Pilot certificate; to be a pilot-in-command, responsible for dozens or even hundreds of passengers?

The term “Cockpit Resource Management” might not be familiar to you, but to the professional pilot community it is a vital part of their training.

Commonly referred to by its acronym, CRM is a pilot’s ability to work effectively with their crew to reduce risk. It is defined in one safety manual as “the effective utilization of all available resources, equipment and people to achieve safe, efficient flight operation.” There are few places in the world where risk management is more vital than the cockpit of an aircraft at 35,000 feet.

Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration made a landmark change regarding CRM. It was determined that CRM should not only be a required element of training (it already was), but that CRM skills will now be routinely evaluated during the process of pilot certification. Simply stated, pilots in training may be failed due entirely to ineffective demonstrations of CRM, such as an inability to resolve interpersonal conflict or work collaboratively with crew members, regardless of their piloting abilities.

The change is remarkable. The FAA has made working well with coworkers a fundamental requirement of a professional pilot’s role. 

Is this a fundamental requirement at your company?

Imagine if your company’s leadership training worked this way. What if all the “people leaders” in your organization were required to demonstrate effective “People Resource Management” to retain their position? How would things change?

Would your leaders be…

  • more attentive to their employees and empathetic to their needs?
  • more invested in employee development?
  • better at communicating their intentions and expectations?
  • more observant, diligent, supportive, and honest?

All too frequently businesses elevate employees to roles of leadership based on their technical skills or their tenure without considering the employee’s aptitude as a people leader.  It’s a common problem, but not an impossible one. 

Here are 5 ideas to improve the “people resource management” of those you trust to pilot your business and lead your employees:

  1. Read the book “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni with your leadership team and take the included assessment.  You’ll better understand how your team is operating and spark meaningful discussions about areas your team can improve.
  2. Complete the Kolbe A Index™ with your leadership team and discuss the results together or with a certified consultant.  You’ll learn each other’s natural methods for problem solving and see your team’s individual strengths in a remarkable new light.
  3. Ask your leaders to contribute articles, blog posts, and announcements that can be shared companywide. You’ll open lines of communication, help everyone connect the dots, and promote a single source of truth for what’s occurring in your company.
  4. Coach your leaders to start every meeting with gratitude. You’ll promote deeper, more meaningful connections within your teams.
  5. Incorporate a feedback loop in your company’s performance management, including input from peers.  You’ll give your employees a full picture of the impact their work is having, allowing them to make more meaningful improvements.

When it comes to air travel, we expect safe arrivals and departures, but the truth is that volumes of careful planning and education are behind every successful trip.

This is no different when it comes to excellence in people leadership.  It takes planning, practice, and continual learning to arrive at that destination.