The Node

The 5 traits of a top leader

25 Apr 2018

Since Avinode was founded in 2002, we’ve been working in close collaboration with the companies and individuals who use our technology. In this time, we’ve had the opportunity to watch the evolution and creation of companies that are forces to be reckoned with in the business aviation world — and the leaders behind them. Here we asked ourselves, what do these leaders share in common?

Since Avinode was founded in 2002, we’ve been working in close collaboration with the companies and individuals who use our technology. In this time, we’ve had the opportunity to watch the evolution and creation of companies that are forces to be reckoned with in the business aviation world — and the leaders behind them.

Here we asked ourselves, what do these leaders share in common? What does it take to be a top performer in our industry? These are the 5 traits that truly stand out to us. 

1. Flexibility

Leaders are the ones entrusted with the big picture of not just their business, but of how their business fits into a constantly shifting industry and world. The top leaders in business aviation actively try to forecast and prepare for change, rather than just react to it. By monitoring social developments (such as the increasing popularity of the internet-led sharing economy), they ask: “How will this change one day impact my business? How can I be ready to exploit that change?”

Good leaders should have a clear vision for their business but have the flexibility to change their approach when necessary, listening to ‘360-degree feedback’ from all colleagues and employees, in addition to actively seeking the intelligence from experts in the field. 

2. Emotional intelligence

As a leader you need to lead philosophically and operationally, but you also need to have an awareness of and a passion for the small gestures that really make a difference to your customers, and your colleagues. If you can win the ‘hearts and minds’ of your team, so they want to work for you as an individual, they will be so much more productive than people just fulfilling their contractual obligations to the company. There is no limit to what people can achieve when they feel appreciated. 

3. Media skills

Charisma in front of people and cameras definitely helps. One of the tell-tale signs of leader is having a natural ability to “work the room” at networking at industry events such as the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE). 

If you currently lack confidence in conversation, at a press conference, or in front of a TV camera, media training will really help you to become the face and voice of your company. By learning to explain complex points in a clear and concise manner, and seemingly without any effort, you’ll be on your way to becoming a business leader.

4. A love of new technology

To be a leader in our industry, you must always be open to cutting-edge solutions and methods for improving the efficiency of your business. After all, the telephone was once the only way to complete a flight booking quickly. But now, for example, over 30% of North American operators are quoting back within 45 minutes of a request being submitted through Avinode.

Smart leaders aren’t just looking to develop and evolve click-to-book smartphone apps for business aviation. They’re already asking: “What will the Post-Millennial generation want next?”

5. Resilience 

Business aviation is tough in the 21st century. Figures from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reveal global shipments of business jets halved from 1,317 aircraft in 2008 to 667 aircraft in 2016. Strong leaders were needed to guide our industry through the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 and into recovery today. (Bizjet shipments rose slightly to 676 aircraft in 2017.)

Strong leaders will be needed in the future. If you can stand back up again whenever you suffer a setback, you could be one of the exceptional leaders our industry needs.

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