March 7, 2017

Steady leadership is the key to success of any organization, and having the courage to lead to a vital part of that success. At the recent NBAA Leadership Conference, attendees heard about the value of courageous leadership from speakers who offered advice on the most important traits required of effective leaders.

1. Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions

Sometimes leaders must make difficult decisions that may have detrimental effects on personal relationships. JCPenney Flight Operations Manager Aymie Thornton encouraged leaders not to shy away from doing what they believe is right in these situations. Thornton recalled an instance when she felt it was important to remove a pilot from duty – a difficult decision in a tight-knit flight department, but a necessary one. “When you blend courage with leadership, it can really lead you to a more successful career path,” she said.

2. Embracing change can pay dividends

Keep moving or get left behind – a crucial lesson that has helped Chris Broyhill in his role as aviation director for Exelon. “Embrace that change and move forward with it,” he said. The key to preparing for change is maintaining open communication so that teams have the positive relationships necessary to advantage of industry change, he added “We have the confidence that we can handle change together as a team, that we can make the courageous decisions necessary to facilitate the change and manage it,” Broyhill said.

3. Take a leap of faith on what you believe is right

“It takes courage to say yes when there are unknowns,” said Brad Pierce, president and CEO of Restaurant Equipment World. Pierce knows firsthand the risks – and rewards – of taking chances, as he convinced his family business that acquiring a business aircraft would bolster their company. His belief that he was making the right decision paid off, as his company now serves over 100,000 customers in 110 countries and all 50 states.

4. Strong leaders must withstand pressure

Delivering good news is easy; delivering bad news, or dealing with a crisis, can challenge even the most accomplished leader. ARGUS International President and CEO Joe Moeggenberg said the key to successful leadership can be found in an Ernest Hemingway quote: “Courage is grace under pressure.” Maintaining composure and leadership strength is crucial, Moeggenberg added.


The next NBAA Leadership Conference will take place Feb. 26-28, 2018, in San Diego, CA.