In Leadership, Good Co-Pilots Make Great Captains

Good Co-Pilots make great captains, Owen Zupp

When considering leadership, the phrase, “Good Co-Pilots make Great Captains” can be interpreted in two ways – and that is intentional. In the first instance, the skills learnt as a co-pilot observing a range of captains plays a significant role in forming the leader that you will become. Equally, a great captain is often made so by possessing the awareness and humility to employ the skill-set of the supporting co-pilot. These same traits apply to all forms of leadership and management that exist beyond the confines of the cockpit and the bullet-proof flight-deck door.
From your first day, you should consider yourself to be a future leader in training. No-one will expect you to have all the answers but this is not an excuse to slip into the background and participate with just enough effort to meet the barest of expectations. Start asking yourself the “What Ifs?” as though you held a senior leadership role. What could be the outcome of this plan and more importantly, consider what could go wrong.
As a future leader in your own right, it is not a time to sit passively and simply “go with the flow”. It is an opportunity to actively monitor situations as they develop and cultivate solutions. In fact, your solutions may raise valid points that have been overlooked and this is a tremendous opportunity to highlight your value to an organisation.
Also, while those moving up the food chain may be keen to lay claim to their own senior role, their impatience should not obscure the opportunity in the present moment to take on board the lessons of their leaders and managers – both good and bad. Furthermore, while serving their “apprenticeship”, there exists a real opportunity to demonstrate their potential by providing timely support and input to the team, rather than griping about a “stalled” career.
In addition to cultivating their own style, good leaders are a balanced hybrid of their experiences and the selected traits of those around them….and they never stop learning. We look at longevity in leadership in the next post, “Leadership, Longevity and Learning”.

Lead on.