Balanced Qualities of Next Level Leadership
April 29, 2010 by Jeff "Odie" Espenship
Next Level Leaders in any profession, whether in aviation, utility power companies manufacturing plants, petroleum refineries, or in hospital ERs all a have similar objective. That objective is to influence and motivate employee groups and individuals to get the job done safely and with operational excellence!
As a USAF fighter pilot and international commercial air line pilot, I know firsthand what it is like to operate lead others in a high risk and sometimes dangerous and international commercial air what it is like to operate and lead others in a high risk and sometimes dangerous work environment. Also, as a safety-leadership consultant having worked with many of our nation’s top manufacturing, utility, construction, petroleum, safety, and medical organizations, it is my good fortune to witness a wide range of effective leadership traits, styles, and behaviors. Each organization brings different challenges, but the common concern among next level leaders is, “What can we do to take our employees to the next level in safety and operational excellence?” My tongue-in-cheek answer is, “Get rid of all the employees! Short of that, you must successfully manage the threats and errors that lay before you.
This article is my attempt to encapsulate a aviation, safety, teamwork, and leadership. In that time, I have noticed the following constant:
Organizations that desire employees get the job done safely and with excellence manage to promote exceptional leaders to positions that are best able to:
1) Emulate the organization’s values and beliefs to make safety and operational excellence the overriding priority among the employees.
2) Maintain a balanced and healthy working relationship between the company and the employees doing work.
These two traits yield certain work behaviors from your employees that ultimately define your organization’s culture.
Dr. Edgar H. Schein, a professor at the a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, is generally credited with inventing the term corporate culture. He asserts that leadership establishes and maintains the culture of an organization, and the workers will work within the norms of the culture.