Oct. 12, 2021

The COVID-19 crisis resulted in many workers changing jobs and even careers, potentially changing the makeup of the future workforce.

How do you attract and retain good employees? What role does leadership – particularly servant leadership – have in creating a positive company culture which employees buy into and stay engaged with?

At the 2021 NBAA Business Aviation & Convention (NBAA-BACE 2021) “Service Through Leadership” education session, panelists answered these questions and more.

“The supply chain shortage isn’t just about products; it includes the workforce,” said Dustin Cordier of StepZero Coaching, who moderated the session. “But for us [in aviation], disruption can be an opportunity.”

Cordier asked what service through leadership means to panelists Justin Firestone of WheelsUp, Annemarie Oxman of NBAA and Stephanie Werner of Exosonic.

“It’s an attitude – this belief system that together we are better than any one individual is separately,” said Annemarie Oxman of NBAA.

Essentially, a servant leader considers their employees first. An employee first culture doesn’t mean an organization is going “soft” and doesn’t have to interfere with the mission of the company.

Active listening is another necessary quality of a servant leader. Werner said active listening is not an inherent skill; most individuals have to learn and practice active listening.

Firestone said he encouraged mistakes in his organization as a key to continuous improvement and learning. Werner echoed this sentiment, saying teams who are encouraged to use their voice, take chances and even make mistakes learn more and stay more engaged in the company mission.

Panelists encouraged attendees to check their ego at the door, which allows employees to lead as well and helps the whole organization to rise up. Being vulnerable with your own employees gives them an opportunity to do the same and to grow through challenges.

Panelists advised: commit to allowing authenticity from yourself and you will team.

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