Entrepreneurship

Peter Docker: Leading From the Jumpseat

Peter Docker: Leading From the Jumpseat

In the cockpit of a modern airplane, there are three seats. There are two seats for the pilots, and a third seat in the back, known as the jumpseat. The pilot and the first officer have fairly obvious responsibilities. They fly the aircraft together, one managing the physical tasks of flying the aircraft while the other manages systems, makes radio calls, and otherwise assists the flying pilot. 

Most people would rightly assume that the captain has the primary leadership role in the cockpit. The captain is directly responsible for the safe operation of the flight and is the ultimate authority onboard the aircraft. But while the captain might get all the glory, every captain comes from somewhere. Even the most experienced captain was once a wide-eyed flight student who didn’t know a yoke from an aileron. Every captain started somewhere and had someone above them who empowered them to rise through the ranks and gain the skills needed to successfully operate a large, complex aircraft. 

That’s where the jumpseat comes in. The facilitator of that journey, the instructor or senior pilot, often rides in the jumpseat to observe, teach, and empower young captains as they grow their experience and knowledge. Peter Docker doesn’t just ride in the jumpseat: he leads from it. 

Who is Peter Docker? He is, first and foremost, the proud father of his two beloved children, and a devoted husband to his wife of 34 years. He is a speaker, facilitator, teacher, and highly experienced pilot who has flown various aircraft for the Royal Air Force (RAF). At the age of 20, Docker joined the RAF, and by age 25, he was a qualified pilot. Docker was trusted and skilled enough to fly the English equivalent of Air Force One, shuttling prime ministers and other VIPs to destinations around the globe. During the 2003 Gulf War, Docker led crews of airmen flying the surprisingly dangerous aerial refueling mission. His experience as an aviator is impressive. 

But Docker is not just a pilot. He has taught leadership classes at the Defense College in the UK to top-tier British and foreign military officers. He has negotiated with foreign leaders, including the United States’ own State Department. He has run procurement programs, worked with oil and gas and mining companies, traveled to 94 countries, and written a fantastic book about leadership. 

Docker, in short, is a man of vast experience who has developed an inspired and empowering approach to leadership. Today, he is focused on bringing together a lifetime of amazing leadership experiences and sharing them with anybody who wants to learn. In his own words, Docker has “had the opportunity to have some extraordinary experiences in [his] life,” and despite the sometimes depressing world in which we live, Docker has “great hope, in that, despite all of our different beliefs, cultures, traditions around the world, what brings us together as humankind is so much more than what keeps us apart.” Suppose you are a leader or an aspiring leader. In that case, Docker is an excellent teacher and role model, a man whose philosophical approach to leadership is seasoned with the real-world wisdom gained from a lifetime of high-stakes operations. 

Peter Docker / Photo courtesy of Peter Docker

What is leadership?

If you asked ten people to define leadership, you’d probably get eleven answers. Leadership has been discussed in endless forums, analyzed by countless academics, and pontificated about by commentators of all backgrounds. Despite the endless buzz, leadership remains a nebulous concept. How does Docker explain the idea of leadership?

The first step is to distinguish leadership from management. “Management is about handling complexity,” explains Docker, while “leadership is about creating simplicity. It’s about cutting through the noise, identifying what's really important, making it personal for people, bringing them together and connecting them.” 

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

In a world that seems to value complexity, simplifying seems like contrarian advice. But the truth is that simplicity is the wellspring of leadership. Indeed, the average worker doesn’t have much use for torturous business speak or vague platitudes. A buzzword-laden vision statement is of little use to a baker, a surgeon, or a truck driver. Direct and simple communication that helps people find a unity of purpose does more to further leadership than a thousand pages of business jargon ever will. 

So how can a leader approach simplicity in a complicated world? Even something as simple as a bagel shop involves sourcing ingredients, maintaining equipment, hiring competent personnel, marketing, advertising, managing inventory, managing a waste stream, and so on. How can a leader of a complex operation find simplicity amidst all of this chaos?

Know Yourself

The first step toward effective leadership is to know yourself. If you don’t know where you’re going or why you’re going there, it’s very difficult to lead others. “Whilst we can choose to start to lead others at any stage, if we want to lead them better, we need to lead ourselves well,” Docker says. The leadership journey involves finding a simple, clear explanation about what matters to you and using that information to guide your actions. “Creating simplicity for ourselves is about getting really clear on what's deeply important to you,” says Docker. “What are your non-negotiables? What are your drivers?” 

Docker explains that, while involved in some important business a few years back, he learned that his wife Claire had been in a car accident. Even though he was working on tremendously important things, he dropped everything to go to his wife and ensure that she was okay. “There's absolutely nothing on this planet that would have stopped me from going to support my wife,” Docker says. Attending to the wellness of his family is absolutely not negotiable for him. 

Setting a non-negotiable like this, establishing with ourselves that this is something of vital importance to us, unlocks something deep inside that moves us forward. The simplicity of a non-negotiable is a driving force: there are no complications or questions. When he left vital business to go to his wife in her time of need, Docker could have ended up in trouble. That is secondary to the non-negotiable nature of being there when his family needs him. 

“When we can identify things that are equally, deeply important to us, and we can articulate what those are and put them into words, then it creates an enormous reservoir of energy,” Docker explains. “That helps us step forward in times of crisis, uncertainty, or change. And that, by definition, actually is about leadership. Because part of leadership is about stepping into the unknown to create that path forward. And often there isn't a roadmap. But when we have our drivers, our non-negotiables clear in our own minds, clearly expressed in simple terms, then it gives us the handrail, the guide that we need to step into those uncertain situations.”

Docker’s sense of commitment and his willingness to stand by his non-negotiables are inspiring. How can the average person develop driving principles and learn to act on them? There is no shortcut or algorithm: finding your non-negotiables requires introspection. Go take a hard look at the person in the mirror. Get clear on what’s important to you. What drives you? What motivates you? What is truly, deeply important to you? Knowing what matters to you helps you discern what the best course of action is in any given situation. If your house is on fire, you (hopefully) don’t do a SWOT analysis before rescuing the kids. You wade through the smoke and drag them to safety. When you know what really matters to you, the path forward becomes clear. 

In the context of business leadership, understanding your personal drivers helps you define the most important things for your team. Having simple, clear, nonnegotiable objectives is an effective way to cut through the noise and distraction. Is your objective to provide a good product or service, or is it to make a ton of money? Is your team focused on making end-users happy, or is it focused on maintaining a lean IS infrastructure? Should your bedside nurses be worried about meeting asinine metrics, or should they focus on meeting their patients' needs? What is actually important to you?

Learning From Your Own Behavior

To find your drivers, analyze your behaviors. In the early 80s, Docker decided to attend college to study electrical engineering and computing. Despite not having any background in engineering or computing, Docker’s choice was not random: his objective was to find secure, good-paying employment, and those degrees seemed to provide the brightest future. His future stability was something he was closely attuned to. His parents had endured financial struggles and difficulties finding employment. It became very important to Docker that he could make his way and put himself in a position where he could help or support others. 

However, in 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British territory. Docker faced a choice: he could continue his studies or join the fight. The Argentinian invasion of the Falklands incensed Docker because the Argentinians were imposing their will on the islanders, who had little to no interest in becoming Argentine citizens. He realized his desire to help others would be compatible with military service. With that in mind, Docker joined the Royal Air Force. He wanted to help people who could not help themselves. “The way that I articulate that now is my non-negotiable of mutual respect,” he explains.

There will be times for all of us when conventional wisdom or tradition dictates one path, but we consciously choose another. While most of us won’t enlist in the military, we will all face hard choices. When Docker chose to join the RAF, his professors balked, encouraging him to stay in school. “Those choices will be the times perhaps when people will tell us to turn right but we turn left, because it just felt like the right thing to do. And when we scrape away at that we uncover, Well, what caused us to turn left, when everybody else said turn right, we start to get to the bottom of what's deeply important to us. Or when we look at things that really trigger us in our lives. Then when we turn that corner coin over, we can discover what it is that is the positive side of what we stand for, as opposed to what we take a position against.”

Standing For vs. Standing Against

Often, we find ourselves being defined by what we dislike. We might be against that new highway overpass or management’s new dress code policy. Viewpoints are often framed as what one is against instead of what one is for. However, Docker explains, if you define your values in the context of opposition, you have established a value that inherently depends on an opposing value. If you’re against the demotion of Pluto from planetary status, your worldview revolves around the deplanetization of Pluto. Saying “I don’t think they should have demoted Pluto from being a planet” defines your value by the opposite argument. If, on the other hand, you say “I think Pluto should be considered a planet,” you now have a positive stance that exists outside of an opposing viewpoint.

Docker defines this subtle difference: what you stand for is a stance, and what you stand against is a position. Stances are far more powerful than positions. Taking a stand for your own belief is a much more powerful action than standing against someone else's beliefs. 

“So when you figure out what your non-negotiables are, and then they become clear through the choices you make in life, you can turn them into what drives you, and then you can choose to turn them into stances, which is when you express them as what you stand for. So I’m going to stand for people having mutual respect. I stand for not being a burden and being able to support others. I'm going to stand for supporting my family and my friends. And these stances don't depend on anyone or anything else or what they do. It's all about what I believe. So it's a process we can all go through, and it doesn't matter about our background. It's not about anybody else. It starts with uncovering what pulls us forward when the easy thing would be not to move forward at all.”

Defining what you stand for is essential to meaningful leadership. Articulating what you stand for involves developing a deeper sense of who you are. After all, if you don’t clearly understand who you are and what matters to you, how can you ever hope to lead others? Even outside of the context of leadership, knowing oneself and your values is important. How can you have a deep relationship with anyone else if you don’t even know who you are? 

Fly True North

Understanding your non-negotiables and where they come from is especially important in times of crisis. If you don’t know what is important to you, how will you know what to do when things go banana-shaped? According to Docker, if you don’t have some kind of meaningful internal guidance, you’re not likely to behave skillfully in a crisis.

“You're gonna come unstuck very quickly during times of crisis, uncertainty, or change, where there isn't a roadmap. You're gonna come unstuck very quickly unless you've got some guidance from yourself. What do you stand for? What will give you your true north when there's nothing else out there? And it comes all the way back to…creating that simplicity, that clarity. You know, simplicity is not about being simplistic. Simplistic is about oversimplifying matters. No, Leonardo da Vinci said simplicity is the greatest sophistication.” 

Docker continues, “Complex is where when you take action A and B, it does not necessarily result in C every time. And leadership is about handling complexity because it's about handling people. And that means there isn't a roadmap you can always follow. You've got to fall back on something else if you want to lead people through complexity. And that starts with getting very clear on, well, what do I stand for? What do I believe in? It's not about being right or wrong. It's about what you believe in. At the end of the day, that is what is going to sustain you. That is what's going to help you continue through adversity, nothing else, when the chips are down.”

In other words, while the world is undeniably very complex, the most effective approaches to handling complexity often stem from simplicity. Yes, there is nuance in the world. Yes, there are complicated, multifactorial situations with many important variables. But before tackling a complex problem, you should have a simple system to guide you through it. In aviation, pilots are trained that whenever there’s an emergency, task number one is always to fly the airplane. If you forget your basic aerodynamics, if you become task-saturated or fixate on something not directly related to flying, such as a radio or a light bulb, you are far less likely to succeed in your relatively simple objective of keeping the airplane in the air. Finding and following a simple objective can be described as flying true north. 

Following your true north can also be described as doing what you know is right. Understanding what is truly important to you provides a framework for doing the right thing. We’ve all been there before: we have a situation with multiple options, and while we are drawn in by instant gratification or quick profits or some other shiny dopamine-fueled temptation, we all know what the right thing to do actually is. Docker says, “All of us know when something feels right. When we've just got to do it, we might not be able to put it into words. But we know that feeling.”

Docker himself has followed his internal beacon of rightness throughout his life. When he enrolled in university to study engineering and computing, many people encouraged him not to because it seemed like a challenging path – but he knew his true north and followed it. When he joined the RAF, his professors encouraged him to think twice. He was a talented student, and it was contrary to the norm to leave one’s studies to enlist in the RAF. But just because a norm exists does not mean you are obligated to follow it personally. You don’t have to have a house in the suburbs with two kids and a dog just because it’s the norm. If your true north points in a different direction, you can choose to take another path. You can move to the woods and start an alpaca farm or buy an RV and become a nomad. Finding yourself and defining your simple, core values can clarify a noisy world and help you find your own way – and guide others on theirs. 

Peter Docker / Photo courtesy of Peter Docker

Cut Through the Noise

Most adults today vividly remember the events of September 11, 2001. While we might now think of the pre-9/11 era as a simpler time, the truth is that much of the conflict we see now still existed then. The struggles for LGBTQIA rights and racial and gender equality, the acrimonious relationship between our increasingly useless political parties, and intergenerational tensions – all of these phenomena existed before 9/11, right up to the moment the first plane struck the towers. And yet, when the towers fell, Americans felt more united than ever. First responders from all over the nation flocked to New York to help. Americans of all backgrounds united. People checked on each other, helped one another, changed their lives, and even found new kinds of callings or purposes in the wake of the nightmare. For a brief, shining moment, Americans worked together in the pursuit of a unifying cause. American unity in the aftermath of September 11th is an extreme example of how a simple, clear message – we must help our fellow Americans – cut through all of the noise and conflict. 

Docker cites a less extreme example from his time in the RAF. At every airbase, crews of firefighters wait on standby as airplanes come and go. Undoubtedly, these firemen have their differences, complications, and conflicts. But when a crisis occurs, all of that goes out the window. If an airplane is in distress, on fire, or experiencing engine failure, these firefighters jump into action without question. “Of course, 99.9% of the time, nothing happens. But over my flying career, I've had lots of times when things have happened. And these guys are there. They run towards the crisis,” Docker says. “I find it truly inspiring how extraordinary these people are. And I feel that given the right circumstances, that basic core humanity is in everyone.” In the moment of crisis, they do not squabble over petty differences. Instead, they have a simple, unifying goal that cuts through personal differences between them: extinguish flames and save lives. 

Life rarely offers us simple dilemmas. There are always nuances and complications. But having a simple lodestar to guide your decision-making will help you know what kind of choices to make. In aviation, when you’re in a crisis, rule #1 is always fly the airplane. Whether you’re on fire, iced over, experiencing an engine failure, being pummeled by severe weather, shedding parts, or taking antiaircraft fire, your first task is to fly the airplane. Following that first priority keeps the airplane aloft and provides a simple guide for decision making. If an action would make the airplane stop flying, don’t do it. 

Fear and Love

While human motivations are often complex and inscrutable, Docker hypothesizes that either fear or love drives everything in life. Fear comes when we perceive a threat to our well-being. It might have been a big cat or a bear in the old days. Today, it might be the shady guy loitering outside the 7-11 or a terse email from the boss. Our fear response can arise when we feel like our livelihood, status, or reputation is on the line. Over the eons, we’ve evolved a refined sense of danger to help us react without thinking. We get a bad feeling, and then we get that adrenaline rush to help us sprint away or club the threat with a stick. Most modern fear stimuli, however, cannot be addressed by flight or violence. We do not often know how to react to fear.

“What fear looks like is we start to close down,” explains Docker. “Instead of thinking of others, we're thinking about ourselves. Instead of seeing the world as a place of opportunity, we see it as scarcity. We see it as binary. We’ve got to win, not lose, just us. And the big one comes out ego, ‘ego’ is Greek for I. It's all about me. And the trouble with that is that we then start making choices that end up hurting others.”

A threat to our ego triggers a fear response. In the context of leadership, we might want to overrule a junior colleague, push a peer under the (metaphorical) bus, make a selfish choice, or otherwise focus on our own needs instead of the needs of other entities. Docker continues:

“That isn't the way to lead. But here's the thing, we've always got a choice. In every situation where fear can arise, we've got a choice. And that choice is to lead instead with love. And what that looks like in business [is] thinking about others. The people we serve, our customers, our clients, the people on our team, rather than ourselves. It's having a view of the world of possibility and opportunity rather than scarcity, which is a view by the way that all entrepreneurs have because otherwise, they would not be entrepreneurs. And instead of ego, we lead with humble confidence. And humble confidence is a mixture of being absolutely clear on what we stand for or believe in. Being resolute on where we're going. Being ready to make decisions when they need to be made. But having the humility to listen to the people on our team is the key to humble confidence. And when we lead with humble confidence and are clear on what we stand for, that…is the antidote to ego. What joins fear and love is courage. Courage can't exist without fear, but it can only be sustained by love.”

Reaction and Response

During his flying career, Docker learned that fear reactions often lead people to freeze. If your engine catches fire, an alarm sounds, and alert lights illuminate. Engine fires are dangerous and can lead to crashes and death. This can cause fear. A novice pilot might freeze on the controls, unsure what to do – and to be fair, it is natural to fear an engine fire in an airplane because the consequences of a fire on a plane are literally life-or-death. 

Pilots drill to avoid crises with panic, fear, or freezing. They rehearse the crisis, and they focus on flying the airplane. Rather than reacting from a panicky, fear-driven negative place of “Oh my God, this is how I die,” they respond from an affirmative place of “How can I solve this problem?” In other words, if we don’t want to think in terms of a fear/love dichotomy, we can think in terms of a reaction/response dichotomy. Responses invariably work better than reactions: taking a step back to think critically about a situation almost always works better than simply reacting to whatever stimulus has triggered you. 

In business, you’re unlikely to face mortal peril. But problems like data leaks, missing money, staffing crises, or supply chain failures are not unlikely. Depending on where your business is located, threats like hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, or wildfires are very real. But instead of reacting blindly in a panic when such things happen, one can be proactive. Run a disaster preparedness drill. Gather the key players and run through a scenario: what will happen? Who is responsible for what? How will our business react, and what specific steps will we take? Working these details out beforehand prevents chaos and panic when a real disaster inevitably strikes.

Reaction and response is also a useful cognitive framing tool for interpersonal relationships. If your new junior associate tries to get your attention, but you act busy or shoo them away, it will leave a bad taste in their mouth. Even if you’re pressed for time or have other obligations, you can choose to respond instead of reacting. Responding might look like telling them, “I’m on my way to a board meeting, and it’s time-sensitive, but I would love to have a deeper conversation after lunch.” Taking the time to respond instead of reacting can help you manage your employees and foster an open, communicative culture instead of a rigid hierarchy. 

Taking the time to respond instead of reacting also helps you cultivate a more caring persona. Thinking about things other than your own immediate needs and taking the time to recognize that others are human like you will help you become a more well-rounded, thoughtful, and personable leader, someone who your team looks up to and respects instead of someone they fear and loathe

Peter Docker / Photo courtesy of Peter Docker

Don’t Let Your Ego Be In The Way

If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now. – Zaphod Beeblebrox, Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy

The single biggest obstacle to successful leadership is ego. Business leaders, like other powerful people, often develop large and needful egos. While a huge ego might put up a front of confidence and self-love, Docker believes that “ego comes from a place of fear.” Docker isn’t referring to ego in the sense of self-image or self-confidence; instead, he is talking about “unconstrained ego, where it is all about me, me, me, me, at the expense of others.” This kind of ego, he says, tends to be an obstacle to effective leadership. If someone brings us a problem and we don’t know the solution, we perceive a threat to our ego and panic or freeze. To avoid the unpleasant sensation of not knowing or the shame of feeling like we should know something, we fudge things, make assumptions, or blindly forge ahead on a wave of ego-driven hubris. 

“When somebody in a work environment comes to you, the senior person, with a problem and you don't know the answer, many of us will either try and answer it or tell people what to do. Or say, leave it with me, I'll get back to you…it avoids us saying we don't know the answer. That's ego because we have grown up in a system where we've been rewarded for knowing the answer. And so we feel exposed when we don't know the answers to problems that are coming our way.”

To be an effective leader, you have to be willing to admit you don’t know the answer to everything. Sometimes, problems require solutions from niche experts. Admitting that you don’t know everything, admitting that you need help, feels threatening. Many Americans view needing help as a sign of weakness. This is unfortunate, as no man is an island, and we all need help sometimes. Docker’s philosophy of jumpseat leadership revolves around the idea that leaders don’t have to know every answer because if your system relies solely on one person’s expertise or skill set, it is inherently weak.

“Leading from the jumpseat is about how to lead when you don't know the answer. Because here's the thing: if you're always the one who's going to know the answer, you become this constriction in the pipe of progress. Your team and your organization can only advance as quickly as your knowledge allows. Leading from the jumpseat is about how to lead when you don't know the answer. And how to turn that from a perceived weakness into great strength. But you cannot do that if you allow ego to get in the way.” 

Leadership, according to Docker, is not about being perfect. It’s about trending in a positive direction over time. Your intention over time should be to support, empower, and uplift your people, to be a force for good in their lives. In many ways, Docker’s vision of leadership is similar to servant leadership. Leaders should be empowering their people and acting with positive intentions. A true leader sees the world as a land of opportunities to help people, not as a land rich with rubes waiting to be exploited. When leaders have humble confidence and a clear intention to help, they are highly effective. When leaders are driven mainly by ego and greed, they fail to inspire or help those around them. Leaders should source their inspiration from a place of love, not from a place of fear.  

Jumpseat Leadership

As a high-ranking RAF pilot, Docker learned how to lead from the jumpseat. Even as a highly experienced senior pilot, when Docker flew in the jumpseat, he was not the pilot-in-command. His role as a leader in that situation was not to fly the aircraft or micromanage the flight crew. A pilot who sits in the jumpseat but belittles the crew or tries to fly the airplane or influence the operation of the aircraft is a hazard to safe aviation, no matter how experienced or high-ranking they are. True leadership is not bossing people around and being domineering. The essence of true leadership is knowing how to let people use their skills. 

One time, while flying in the jumpseat, Docker found himself aboard an airplane experiencing an emergency. The emergency was serious: it occurred shortly after takeoff, during a critical phase of flight, and one wrong move by the flying pilot could have led all aboard to an untimely end. Docker far outranked the brand-new captain who was flying, a young man named Callum, who Docker had certified the day before. When the emergency occurred, Docker recognized that the next few seconds would determine whether the 140-some people on that airplane lived or died. 

In an action movie, the experienced senior captain would rush to the controls, shove the newbie aside, take over, and save the day. But action movies are not a good analog for reality. Instead, in that moment of crisis, Docker did not rush to the pilot’s seat and take control. In his words, he did “absolutely nothing.”

“In that moment, I didn't need to lead. I needed to become a great follower. I needed that young Captain by the name of Callum to feel that I had his back, to feel I had faith he would sort this situation out. And hey, if I didn't believe he could sort it out, I'd have had no business certifying him the day before as a fully qualified captain of that aircraft.” Indeed, Callum successfully addressed the emergency, and all aboard lived to see another day. 

Trusting the people you have empowered to do a job to do that job is the very essence of leadership. If you don’t trust your employees to do their jobs, if you don’t trust your peers to do the right thing, why are you associating with them? If Docker did not trust that Callum could handle the emergency, why would he have signed him off as a qualified captain on that airplane? Leading from the jumpseat involves getting out of the way of your followers, not doing everything for them.

The Four Phases Of Jumpseat Leadership

Docker describes four stages of jumpseat leadership: learning to fly, flying, teaching others to fly, and leading from the jumpseat. Learning to fly is when we are discovering who we are and what we stand for. It is the act of figuring out our non-negotiables, learning what is important to us, and finding that north star to guide us as we progress through life. Next, we begin to learn how to implement those values. We convert ideals into action and begin to take meaningful steps. We’re flying solo, making mistakes, learning, and growing. And then we begin to teach others to fly. We’ve been to that airport, experienced that weather, had that emergency, and learned from it, and now we begin to impart that wisdom to others. Finally, we lead from the jumpseat. We no longer have our hands on the controls. We’re just there to empower others, to show them that we believe in them, to hand over the controls, and to encourage the next generation as they spool up their engines and take to the skies.

Be Foundational

‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away. – Ozymandias

Like it or not, we all have to step aside someday. We can stall and delay; we can fight and drag our feet; but no matter how much we try, no matter how hard we work, our existence is a temporary state of affairs. Rather than focusing on retaining all control of your enterprise forever, doesn’t it make sense to find a way to prepare those who come next? Isn’t the essence of leaving a legacy to build a foundation on which subsequent generations of leaders can build? 

“Why wouldn't you prepare others to carry forward those things that are deeply important to you when you hand over control and take a step back? And for those people out there who think, well, I'm never going to retire. Well, I got news for you. One of these days, you’re going to end up on the other side of the grass…so what are you going to do right now to ensure others are fully equipped to carry forward those things that are important to you?”

Americans tend to view leadership as aggressive, dominating, and powerful. The notion of leading from the jumpseat might seem like contrary advice. But true leadership is not just about being in charge, making money, and being famous. Leadership is about empowering others to do what they do, teaching others to lead, and building a framework for success for those who come after you. Don’t just fly the airplane to get where you’re going; teach others how to fly it too. As you grow, empower and encourage those around you to grow with you. Share your wisdom and knowledge. Lead right, and when it’s your turn to sit in the jumpseat, you’ll feel better knowing that a new generation of calm, competent captains are at the helm.

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