Leadership for Aviation Managers

In this post I want to discuss the missing leadership in some aviation companies. I will speak about management leadership.

The objective of the post is to explain in a simple way something that would otherwise be very long and articulated.

The goal is to give an indication of how a leadership flexible and dedicated to the success of the team is much more effective than a leadership pointing to fossilize on one’s ideas without considering the team as part of a joint project.

Who has never had a boss, a colleague or co-worker that tried so hard just to prove his idea was best than yours, jeopardizing a project or a relation??

Management in aviation is not much different than management in any other company.

The decision-making, planning, strategy, marketing, leadership and HR management, follow the same rules and apply both to small and large companies in the world.

Obviously, everything is proportionate to the scale of the company.

The bigger you are the more you have to manage, you will face more costs, more problems, but at the end of the day you always calculated costs and revenue trying to balance the accounts in order to survive.

The goal of an airline is the same as any other company: to make profit. Many companies just try to survive, others are in a position to invest the profits and others are so large that continue to grow.

What I want to tell you is how the leadership of airline managers must follow the same principles as in any other company.


Before going into the details, I want you to keep in mind this example: Managers create strategies / pilots, flight attendants and employees perform the strategies.

When I talk about “the team” I speak of all those people that perform the managers’ decisions.

If it is decided to open more routes, but the company doesn’t hire more pilots and flight attendants, you might face some problem.

Managers are pretty happy because the routes were opened and profits go up, but the pilots are working double shifts increasing stress, work overload and increasing the risk for incidents.

Every manager knows he has to lead by example. He knows he has to have a strong personality to face any situation, always under the eye of all the people he has around.

Other managers or leaders seek to bring out the best from managers who are responsible for specific departments or projects.

Results count in any company, therefore performance is everything.

Always keep in mind this rule: performance allows you to get results. So if you’re a manager, your attention has to be focused on performance.

As for the leadership “style” you decide to follow, always keep in mind this point: you are a true leader only if the people in your team (for example pilots), recognize your leadership. It’s too easy to hide behind your role and give orders, that is not leadership. 


A true leader is recognized by the team members and as a manager you must know how to adapt to different situations and different people to get the best for the company and for your team. NEVER for yourself!

A manager in an airline must build market strategies and reduce costs and manage all the people who work in the company, remembering these three points:

  1. Clear ideas
  2. Clear goals
  3. Dedication and Energy

Having clear ideas and goals allows you to have under control all that can harm the company or your team.

Also, it lets you know what to do and allows you to have a guideline to understand where you are at any time during your “journey”.

Dedication and energy are the fuel needed to carry out the objectives and obtain successful results.

In this way, having a total dedication to your work and putting energy, the results will come by themselves.

My advice to all civil aviation company managers is to learn to be flexible and focus on your work.

When someone on your team decides to NOT follow these rules (working for the company and the success of everyone), it’s easy to know how to handle that person.

Similarly, if someone on your team will notice that you, as manager, are working only for yourself and not for the entire team, automatically your team will lose the trust in you and your leadership. From that moment on the real problems will begin.

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