The value of leadership as a commander

#BehindTheWings CEO edition: Leadership Tips

Bernhard Fragner about becoming a commander

We have asked the GlobeAir CEO, Bernhard Fragner, why the aviation career is like a metaphor for one's life path. At GlobeAir, it frequently happens that we are lucky enough to follow our pilots as they make headways in their aviation careers – from cadets to first officers to commanders. According to our CEO, the commander upgrade is one of the most powerful moments in a pilot's career, where pilots are to show and develop their leadership skills.

Being promoted and upgraded as commander is next to the first solo flight, becoming a pilot's most memorable and exciting moment in a flying career. Receiving "the four stripes" means becoming a leader and growing in maturity (and not because of the grey hair!).

Leadership as commander is a complex mix of many aspects which qualify the pilot apt to deliver a consistent quality of managerial skills at the highest level. But this leadership does not end as the pilot leaves the cockpit. It is also how a pilot manages all tasks and situations with passengers and other service providers as limousine services or fuel providers.

Being a leader, when you are also a pilot, means being able to manage all the available resources, including your other crew member and technical equipment, properly.

Pilots globeair
GlobeAir commander stripes
Pilots at GlobeAir

More and more loyal pilots at GlobeAir get as far as being released as future commanders and have to demonstrate strong leadership skills. As a CEO, I am always emotionally touched when a pilot who we hired as a young crew member then gets upgraded as commander, so I am today again.

When you are a commander, leadership also has a lot to do with becoming a role model. You have to motivate the pilots who sit next to you in a constant way. That can be sometimes exhausting, and it may require a lot of energy. Leadership is about continuous risk assessment and fast decision making.>

My GlobeAir #DreamTeam is very carefully selecting the potential candidate for being promoted. Once we identify a candidate, we look forward to his or her motivational letter and the successful passing of various assessments before starting the extensive upgrade training.

The intense training takes place on the ground, during classes and with simulator sessions. It mainly focuses on leadership skills and the ability to make the right decisions under stress in normal and abnormal situations to ensure flight safety for all passengers and crew members. In addition, several check-ride sessions complete the upgrade process along with the line flying sessions under the supervision of a senior training commander.

Usually, the next career step of a commander is to become a line training commander. In this position, leadership will be trained to the new commander and joining First Officer.

Being a commander, however, is just one of the many situations when – in aviation – we need to develop and foster our leadership skills. Follow our CEO on social media for GlobeAir news and CEO-driven tips.

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