10 Attributes of Leadership

by | Mar 10, 2020

The Command of a Fighter Squadron was the highlight of my 23-year career as a Fighter Pilot. Being selected to be accountability for more than 45 highly qualified people and to do this in a multinational environment, was a milestone of my flying career, that I never thought I get the chance to.

In these 18 Months of Command, I learned a lot – about leadership, about teamwork.

 In the civil world, leadership training rarely ever happens in a formal way. In the military it is different. Although, the quality of these formal Leadership Courses can lead to critical discussions, I still learned a lot from my Leadership Training I went through before taking command. All I can say is, that it prepared me well.

 On this experience, I base my 10 most important things to think about, when you want to be successful as a leader. I tried to execute and display these whenever possible. None of these are big secrets, none of them are particularly special – but they work!


L.ead from the Front –

If you want people to follow your lead, they will expect that you demonstrate your ability to do it up to the standard that you demand of them. You don’t have to lead every mission, but you must be able and willing to, especially the difficult ones!


E.xample –

You set the standard – people will follow it, especially when you set a bad one. You need to live up to the standard you are demanding from your people every day. If you don’t, then there is none!


A.ttitude –

It is not necessarily your employees fault, when you are having a bad day. Don’t make them pay the price for your something that is out of their control. Show them that you are in control of bad emotions even when times are bad – it will encourage them to do the same.


D.ecisiveness –

This is, what you get paid the big bucks for – you have to make decisions, good, bad or though ones. It’s your job! Listen to opinions, but and the end you need to take over responsibility.


E.mpathy –

You most likely cannot solve every problem your people are having outside the workplace – but if they do have a problem, support them in every way you can and help them along on the way to solve it.


R.eward –

Tell your people if they did a good job, this is not always the standard, especially if circumstances are tough. Honor their effort and show it to them. It will inspire other to rise and install a culture of excellence. But you need to reward the bad things, too. There are standards to follow after all.


S.upport –

Mutual Support always applies – not only in the air, but also on the ground. Be the best wingman that you can for your people, because you would want them to do the same for you. That also means to protect them when mistakes were made.


H.umility –

Respect your employees for the work they do. It doesn’t matter, if they are the high performers, or the ones doing the dirty work (which needs to be done – so we get to fly) – everyone supports the mission. Show them that you care and respect everyone.


I.ntegrity –

Always tell it like it is – if you do, tell the truth. If you fail here, you will never be able to recover from it.


P.osition –

In the end it is not about a position, it about a person it is about you as a Leader. People shall respect you not because of the position that you are holding (they have to, don’t they?), you must earn their respect because of the person that you are as a Leader.

If you put these 10 items together you get:



“Authority is the power given to you, by your subordinates”