The Making of a Wingman

By Scott | July 12th, 2019

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These qualities are as important to a fighter pilot as they are to the leaders in your business.

When I talk to people who have achieved a significant goal in their life, I often ask them what led them to their success. The answer is often “I got lucky,” or “I was in the right place at the right time.” While I’m sure some of that is true, I’ve often noted that people who rise to the occasion also THINK differently. They have a certain mindset that enables them to overcome circumstances and make the most out of any situation. There are certain qualities that make up this successful mindset. I look for these qualities when I’m trying to decide who to work with, or who to partner with. In my opinion, here are the most important qualities that lead to a successful mindset.

Honesty and Integrity. I think these two qualities go hand-in-hand. It’s important to me, and to the success of any project that I’m involved with, that the person I’m working with is telling me the truth and believes what he/she says. Without these two qualities I don’t think true success is possible. Somewhere along the way, the truth comes out. I want to work with people who stick to their core values. I need to know that, as a leader, you’re honestly committed to the path ahead – that you’re putting your reputation on the line. Seeing that honesty and integrity, I’m also committed to the cause. And so will others.

Commitment and Passion. I think a commitment and passion for what you do creates drive and purpose. A person who is committed exhibits a certain confidence level that projects a clarity of mission to everyone they work with. Total confidence and passion seem to just flow from good leaders and as a result, subordinates trust the leader and are energetic about the purpose. That passion and energy translates to an overwhelming drive to reach the goal – and that drive unites everyone to get the job done.

Vision. A leader must have vision. The best leaders have the ability to plan strategically. Without overall vision, it’s easy to react to situations rather than think clearly. Instead, a person with vision is more proactive. A leader with vision is able to command attention. He knows what to do, why it needs to be done and how to do it. He is not going to be diverted because of some distraction. A good leader may hand that distraction off to someone else, but is quickly back on track, leading the mission as planned. A leader with vision is able to clearly communicate that message to all, resulting in a motivated workforce.

Communication. Being a good leader means taking chances – on people, on projects, and on processes. It’s easy to second guess a leader’s decision-making skills if he/she can’t communicate well. Only by active listening and questioning can a leader demonstrate a high level of assertiveness and communicate effectively to peers and subordinates. By communicating effectively, a leader builds rapport and instills loyalty. Leaders who are skilled at getting their point across influence the enthusiasm and drive of everyone around them. These leaders have a certain charisma that influences others. By focusing on interpersonal communications, a leader is able to understand individuals, connect on a personal level and influence their direction.

Whether a fighter pilot, airline pilot or business executive, the people you work with will influence the success of your endeavor. The qualities I’ve noted above are the ones I believe influence a successful mindset. Whether I’m looking for a partner, co-pilot or colleague who will help guide my mission to a successful end, these are the qualities I seek.

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