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Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow. – James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge

Strong leadership is the key to the success of any organization and certainly a key part of success in a business aviation organization. The tools and resources provided here will help business aviation leaders hone their skills and help their organization achieve its vision. Leaders can lead from any position – one does not have to be in a position of power or manage employees in order to be a leader.

Your actions demonstrate your leadership skills for the organization and people you lead. Utilize the tools provided and find the inspiration to step up as an aspiring (and inspiring) leader: take full ownership of your leadership role in your organization; better motivate and mentor your staff/colleagues in their career paths; and equip your team to handle whatever uncertainties lie ahead.


Strategic Engagement Article Series

NBAA's Strategic Engagement article series looks at how flight department managers can help ensure a positive, effective relationship with the company's headquarters. It provides management tips and tools for Part 91 operators both large and small. Originally published in NBAA's Business Aviation Insider magazine, the articles may be viewed individually or downloaded as a single whitepaper.

Communicating with the Aircraft Principal (213 KB, PDF)

This resource provides strategies for effectively conveying aviation priorities to business owners or senior management. Learn how to improve negotiation skills and translate flight department needs into a business model that will align with the priorities of the owner or senior management.


Top 4 Ways Business Aviation Professionals Can Demonstrate Leadership Courage
March 7, 2017
Steady leadership is the key to success of any organization, and having the courage to lead to a vital part of that success. At the recent NBAA Leadership Conference, attendees heard about the value of courageous leadership from speakers who offered advice on the most important traits required of effective leaders. Watch videos from speakers about what it takes to be a strong leaders.

New NBAA Resource Helps Small Flight Departments Communicate with Management
Feb. 10, 2017
NBAA's Small Flight Department Subcommittee released the first in a series of resources offering flight department managers guidance on a variety of issues affecting their operations. The first entry in the series, “Communicating with the Aircraft Principal,” provides strategies for effectively conveying aviation priorities to business owners or managers. “Our goal is to provide tangible tools that will help them be better managers,” said Dave Keys, chair of NBAA's chair of the Domestic Operations Subcommittee. Learn more about the new resource series.

Pro Athlete Shaun Tomson to Share Story of Resilience Amidst Tragedy at NBAA Conference
Feb. 2, 2017
Following an accident in 2006 that killed his son, surfing champion and successful businessman Shaun Tomson reinvented his life. In the process of developing a personal code, he obtained a master’s degree in leadership, seeking to define and create purpose in his life. He also developed a process that begins with self-definition. ”If you want to change your life, you commit to something new,“ he explained. ”I asked myself, ‘What will you become?’ Tomson will explain his process, and how it applies to business leadership, on Feb. 14 at the NBAA Leadership Conference in Miami, FL. Learn more.

Learn How to Navigate Common Communication Challenges in the Aviation Workplace
Jan. 10, 2017
Communicating with colleagues can be challenging, especially when relaying negative information. When is it worth confronting a colleague with an issue? "Our dilemma is often, do we say something, or do we say nothing at all?" said author, communication expert and motivational speaker Sarita Maybin, who will discuss navigating conflict on Feb. 8 at the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference (SDC2017) in Fort Worth, TX. Learn more.

When Negotiating Becomes an Act of Courage
Jan. 6, 2017
Almost every interaction between humans is a negotiation and almost every negotiation can be an act of courage, according to author Misha Glouberman. Glouberman will expand on this idea during a session at the 2017 NBAA Leadership Conference, set for Feb. 14-16 in Miami, FL. With "Strength and Courage" as the theme of the event, education sessions will focus on leadership courage as a way of life and much more. Learn more.

Leaders: Develop Culture of Courage in Critical Times
Oct. 3, 2016
The typical definition of "courage" evokes images of scenarios involving heroic job roles, such as police officers. Against those heady assumptions, it's doubtful many within business aviation would consider their day-to-day tasks to be particularly courageous – but that's a misperception. "Every day we make courageous decisions that directly affect employee safety, company productivity and asset management," said Josh Mesinger, a member of NBAA's Business Aviation Management Committee. Learn more in Business Aviation Insider.

NBAA Leadership Conference Attendees Keep Learning After the Event
July 26, 2016
Business aviation professionals can continue to develop and hone their leadership skills even after the NBAA Leadership Conference ends. For example, 2016 Leadership Conference attendees were given two best-selling books to take home, which teach valuable lessons about leadership, teamwork and perseverance. Read more.

Podcast: NBAA Keeps Connected With Local, Regional Groups
July 11, 2016
In 2014, NBAA created the Local and Regional Group Committee to act as a conduit of information between local groups and NBAA, and provide these groups an opportunity to work together and share best practices. An NBAA Flight Plan podcast, sponsored by jet Quest, examines the committee and its work. .NBAA Flight Plan podcast

Develop a Personal Leadership Philosophy, Pursue It With a Daily Checklist
May 4, 2016
Drew Dudley, founder of Nuance Leadership Development Services, recommends compiling a list of core values to help measure daily success. To discover core values, Dudley recommends compiling a list of 30 things you've learned in life and in work – the insights or advice you'd share with someone to make their life better. Learn more about developing a leadership philosophy.

Upcoming NBAA Roundtable Will Help Regional Leaders Redouble Advocacy Efforts
March 2, 2016
With local and regional business aviation groups increasingly at the forefront of efforts to oppose plans to privatize the ATC system, it’s important for organization leaders to know the best way to make their voices heard. On May 18, leaders of these local and regional groups will meet in Boston, MA at the NBAA Leadership Roundtable, where they will hone their abilities as grassroots aviation advocates. Learn more.

What Are the Best Practices for Leading Through the Generational Shift?
Feb. 8, 2016
The generational change in business aviation is so vast, and will happen so relatively fast, that leadership expert Dr. Tony Kern believes it will be "the single question by which our industry is defined among future historians." Whether it was a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the Great Recession or fuel prices that put a deep dent in the aviation economy, Kern noted that for a decade, few aviation companies were hiring. While companies are hiring again, he said, the "lost decade" helped create a generational gap in the aviation industry that puts personal and professional leadership to a test. Kern will be a featured speaker at NBAA's Leadership Conference, Feb. 22 to 24 in San Antonio, TX. Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast for more on Kern's thoughts on leadership.

Engaging Employees is Key to Workplace Safety, Expert Says
Jan. 27, 2016
Companies – including those in business aviation – can improve their safety culture by treating employees as partners, rather than subordinates, and giving them a seat at the table in the decisions that affect them, according to Dr. John Izzo, an expert in corporate leadership and employee engagement. Creating a safer environment also requires that individual employees "step up," by taking responsibility for their work and not making excuses, said Izzo, who will discuss how to create highly engaging, positive workplaces when he speaks at NBAA's Leadership Conference, Feb. 22 to 24 in San Antonio, TX. Learn more.

Engagement Is Critical to Success, Expert Says
Jan. 25, 2016
Are your employees aligned with the overall business strategy of your company? Employees executing in alignment with the larger mission, and with trust, commitment and passion are fundamental to engagement. "Engagement drives performance" said Mark Fernandes, chief leadership officer at Luck Companies, who oversees the flight department. In fact, Fernandes said, engagement is crucial to a company's bottom line. At the NBAA 2016 Leadership Conference, Feb. 22 to 24 in San Antonio, TX, Fernandes will share these ideas with attendees and challenges them to transform into people who are themselves engaged. Learn more about engagement in this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast.

NBAA Strategic Engagement Article Series
Dec. 30, 2015
NBAA's Strategic Engagement article series looks at how flight department managers can help ensure a positive, effective relationship with the company's headquarters. It provides management tips and tools for Part 91 operators both large and small. Conceived by NBAA's Business Aviation Management Committee, this four-part series originally appeared in Business Aviation Insider magazine between May and December 2015. Learn more.

Managing Your Flight Department Like a Business
Nov. 16, 2015
Flight departments usually are not considered revenue-generating organizations. It can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of a flight department because the beneficial outcomes brought about by business aviation activities can be subjective and each company's use of business aviation may achieve a different strategic purpose. Nonetheless, the primary purpose of a flight department is to increase returns to the company and its shareholders while gaining efficiencies and creating a competitive edge, and as such, flight departments should be managed like a business unit. For tips on managing your flight department like a business, read the final installment in the Business Aviation Insider article series on strategic engagement with company headquarters.

Become a Strategic Partner With Headquarters
Oct. 19, 2015
Traditionally, the flight department was considered separate from the company headquarters. However, that concept has changed considerably over the past few years, as flight departments strive to bridge the gap between hangar and headquarters. Earlier this year, Business Aviation insider launched a four-part series looking at this issue, and this third article in the series outlines five steps that flight department personnel can take to become strategic partners with the executive team and headquarters personnel. Read more in the November/December 2015 issue of Business Aviation Insider.

The New-Generation Aviation Director
Aug. 10, 20155
It takes a strong flight department leader, who is attuned to the business needs of the company, to bridge the gap between hangar and headquarters. A good aviation director needs: business acumen, astute communications skills, proactive asset management and effective partnership with the parent company. "The language of aviation needs to be secondary to the language of business" said Steven Brechter, senior advisor of operations at Gray Stone Advisors. Read the Business Aviation Insider article about what it takes to be a successful aviation director.

Cabin Personnel Can Become Leaders by Expanding Skill Set
June 8, 2015
Flight attendants and flight technicians often struggle with identifying their role in the flight department and demonstrating leadership without any formal authority. "The challenging news is that change is coming to our industry," said Bob Hobbi, president and CEO of ServiceElements International, Inc., an organizational development company. "The good news is if a flight attendant or flight technician can adjust their capabilities, they can become an incredibly important component of flight operations in business aviation and turn those challenges into opportunities." Hobbi will discuss these issues during a session titled, "The Serving Heart Culture" at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1 at the NBAA 2015 Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference (FAFT2015). Read more about FAFT2015.

Leadership Article Series: Ross Bernstein on Team Chemistry
Feb. 19, 2015
Talent is important, but to be successful over the long haul requires having a team of people who get along and can work together as a family. Best-selling author Ross Bernstein, whose latest series of books explores why certain teams win championships in professional sports, observes that the one singular metric consistently woven throughout the locker rooms and front offices of every successful organization he researched is chemistry. As a speaker the 2015 NBAA Leadership Conference, Bernstein will apply lessons learned from the sports world to show how leaders and organizations can think and act more like champions. Read Bernstein's leadership article on the importance of team chemistry in business.

Leadership Article Series: Tom Flick on the Fundamentals of Success
Feb. 13, 2015
The fundamentals of achieving success include having measurable goals, strong character and being an authentic leader who knows how to be honest and transparent, according to former All-American and NFL quarterback and motivational speaker Tom Flick. "I've witnessed too many organizations and their people caught up more in the terminology and acronyms of change and growth, than the actual practice of it," he said. Flick will speak at the 2015 NBAA Leadership Conference on high-performance strategies for leadership, teamwork, change and personal growth. Read Flick's leadership article on the fundamentals of success.

NBAA Leadership Conference to Highlight Industry Game Changers
Feb. 4, 2015
Nine "game changers," mostly in business aviation, will deliver inspirational video messages to attendees at NBAA's 2015 Leadership Conference, which takes place Feb. 24 to 26 in Tucson, AZ. The videos feature nine individuals discussing how they achieved success in their fields and are in keeping with the conference's theme, "Influence. Inspire. Innovate." "There are so many great people and businesses throughout our industry and this is one way we can recognize and tell their story – and the story of business aviation," said Jeannine Falter, vice president of business development at Duncan Aviation and a co-chair of the conference, which is planned by NBAA's Corporate Aviation Management Committee. Learn more about NBAA's 2015 Leadership Conference.

NBAA Webinar on Jan. 28 Examines Impact of Leadership on Safety Culture
Jan. 8, 2015
A flight department's safety culture hinges more on how its leaders handle people issues than on the policies and procedures that make up its safety management system (SMS), said Bob Hobbi, president and CEO of ServiceElements. As a co-chair of NBAA's upcoming Leadership Conference, set for Feb. 24 to 26 in Tucson, AZ, Hobbi will discuss "The Impact of Leadership on Safety Culture" in a live webinar with Chris Broyhill, transportation director for Exelon Business Services, on Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. (EST). "If you don't have the leadership that supports it, SMS is just a program, and it won't do much for you," said Broyhill. Learn more about the webinar and register today.

June Leadership Webinar Offers Management Insights, CAM Credit
May 30, 2014
Professor Emeritus Jim Clawson of the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business will lead an NBAA webinar on June 17, titled "Leadership: Getting Below the Surface," which will explore themes in leadership and management that can apply to flight departments. "We will cover issues of how we act and think strategically about the current state and future of the flight department, including such issues as how to lead teams and lead change, how to sell it to corporate management and how to follow through," Clawson said of the webinar, which qualifies for initial or recertification CAM credit. Pre-registration is required. Learn more and register.