posted by Jill Henning on November 17, 2023

orchestra symphony players - curating a team of experts
Leadership isn’t about single-handedly wielding every card in the deck. It’s about curating a team of experts, as Sheryl Barden explains in her guest column for Aviation International News.

In leadership, the role of a leader transcends micromanaging every aspect of a task. It’s more like a conductor steering an orchestra, understanding that the symphony’s beauty emerges from the harmonious collaboration of diverse instruments and musicians.

When I think about leadership, I visualize a seasoned balloon seller at the fair. Their essence lies in ensuring that the balloons of various shapes and colors stay afloat yet tethered. Importantly, they rejuvenate those that lose air.

Assembling the Experts

Similarly, a leader’s paramount duty isn’t to harbor all the answers or execute every task. Instead, they curate a team of experts, each proficient in their domain. This fosters a collective strength that propels the organization forward.

In business aviation, an adroit leader might mirror the corporation’s general counsel. He or she acknowledges their limitations and, rather than striving for authority, embraces the art of assembling a diverse cohort of experts. They recognize the significance of temporary expertise infusion, akin to calling in “pinch hitters” when needed, to elevate the team’s performance and resolve intricate challenges.

Diversity, Growth, and Future Leaders

The essence of effective leadership lies in embracing diversity, not just in demographics, but also in thinking styles and expertise. Boards thrive when encompassing varied perspectives, mirroring the thriving nature of leaders who embrace individuals of different generations and backgrounds. It is in these diverse teams that innovation sprouts, solutions evolve, and success becomes more than a possibility—it becomes an inevitability.

Surrounding oneself with experts doesn’t just alleviate the burden of knowing everything. Rather, it fosters an environment for exponential growth and learning. It nurtures a leader’s capacity to comprehend diverse aircraft owners’ needs; broaden their skills in finance, HR, operations, and other essential realms; and adeptly craft compelling business cases that inform decision-makers.

Moreover, this diversity of thought and expertise opens doors for the aviation leader to have a seat at the table to be a part of strategy and growth. It paves the way for succession programs nurturing future leaders, establishes connections with influential mentors, and sustains an unwavering commitment to continuous professional development.

The lesson is clear: surrounding yourself solely with like-minded individuals limits growth and innovation.

Empowering Experts and Orchestrating Expertise

A leader’s mandate is to empower experts and allow them the freedom to excel in their roles. Embracing mantras like “under-promise and over-deliver” and practicing the principle of “praise in public, criticize in private” fosters an environment conducive to success.

I always like to say that pressure makes diamonds. Challenging oneself is the conduit to unveiling true potential, showcasing to others your capability to soar to the summit.

In essence, a leader’s success is not solely about personal prowess, but the capacity to discern and integrate diverse talents into a cohesive, high-performing team. It’s about acknowledging that the whole is infinitely more powerful than the sum of its parts.

The art of leadership isn’t a solitary endeavor. Instead, it’s the orchestration of a symphony of varied expertise, perspectives, and talents harmonizing to achieve unparalleled success.

In conclusion, leadership isn’t about single-handedly wielding every card in the deck. It’s about recognizing where your strengths lie, acknowledging the gaps, and curating both an internal team as well as an external team of subject matter experts that complements those gaps. By doing so, leaders not only secure success for their enterprises but also foster an environment where every individual is empowered to thrive.

About the Author

Sheryl Barden, CAM, is the president and CEO of Aviation Personnel International, the longest-running recruiting and HR consulting firm exclusively serving business aviation. A thought leader on all things related to business aviation professionals, Barden is a former member of the NBAA’s board of directors and its advisory council.

The opinions expressed in this column about curating a team of experts are those of the author and not necessarily endorsed by AIN Media Group.

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