Leadership comes in all shapes and forms
There was a low murmur in the plane.
You could feel the tension rising.
‘The plane is broken.
We need to find another plane’.
This was to be a lesson in the subtle art of great leadership, from our pilot yesterday.
It was the first flight of the day, on a Sunday. All was going so well.
Faced with a cabin of frustrated humans he taxied our mighty metal, limping tube to the terminal.
We want to be there.
We want there to be no problem.
The man sitting behind us was vocal.
‘Let’s face it, we’re not flying today’.
He knew. Apparently.
I found myself seduced by his non-expertise. His want of being right.
‘To be honest, this doesn’t happen often’ said the steward.
The cynic in me doubted that was true.
Our pilot emerged from the cockpit to face his disciples. Those of us who – by default, put every molecule of their trust in this 30-something complete and utter stranger.
‘I need to update you with what’s happening. The plane wasn’t behaving as it should – the levelling equipment (I’m paraphrasing) wasn’t level while we were taxiing, so you can imagine in a high-speed landing, not being level might be a problem.’
You had me at ‘not being level might be a problem’.
After being sardined on the plane for 3 hours, not moving, there was a surprisingly contagious calm… as if originating from the cockpit.
Our pilot (and I say that proudly) decided that the disembodied voice approach wouldn’t cut it this time.
He knew he needed to take responsibility and deliver a truth that no one could argue with, in person.
Your plane is broken.
Do you want to fly in a broken plane?
Honest, straightforward communication.
Customer service. Tick.
Pilots are famously unflappable, cool, calm and collected… but hidden.
This guy was all of those things, but he had a face. It felt different.
He kept his word. They found us another plane and we eventually arrived at our destination late into the evening.
There are always hiccups.
There are always bumps.
We just can’t always iron them out.
What’s the phrase? ‘Leaders eat last’.
I feel like our leader would have given us his last Rolo…
…if available on-board.
#leadership #thankyou #leaderseatlast