A leader is a person whose ideas and actions influence the thoughts and the behaviours of others. Through the use of example and persuasion, and an understanding of the goals and desires of the group, the leader becomes a means of change and influence.

Effective leadership and managerial skills help to achieve joint task completion within a motivated, fully-functioning team through co-ordination and persuasiveness.


Leadership involves teamwork, and the quality of a leader depends on the success of the leader’s relationship with the team. Someone exercising leadership will provide direction to the group or team.

It is important to establish the difference between leadership, which is acquired, and authority, which is assigned. An optimal situation exists when the two are combined.

Skilled leadership is needed to understand and handle various situations. Personality and attitude clashes within a crew can complicate the task of a leader and can influence both safety and efficiency. Aircraft accident and incident investigations have demonstrated that personality differences influence the behaviour and performance of crew members.

Both leadership and followership are essentially skills which can be learned although the follower role is a supporting role that does not attempt to undermine the leader. One-upmanship would be a classic case of inappropriate behaviour both for the leader and for the follower.


Situational Leadership [Adapted form: K. Blanchard and Zigarmi P&D]

Leadership styles are defined using two behaviours; Directive Behaviour and Supportive Behaviour. The supportive behaviour is closely related to teamwork skills. This is where the two Toolbox skill sets meet.

Directive Behaviour is defined as: autocratic leadership, it is really one-way communication. You tell the person what, when, where and how to do something and then you closely supervise the person on the problem or task. Supportive behaviour is defined as: Listening to people, providing support and encouragement for their efforts and then facilitating their involvement in problem-solving and decision making.  

There are 4 Leadership styles: Directive, Coaching, Supportive, and Delegating. In Situational Leadership an individual is exercising good leadership when using the adequate style for the given situation in addition the person would take into account the other team member’s competence and commitment, regardless of the position the person is assigned to within the crew.

List of sub skills 

Authority and Assertiveness

The use of authority and assertiveness infers the ability to create a proper challenge and response atmosphere. The given command authority of the Captain should be adequately balanced by assertiveness and crew member participation. If a situation requires, decisive actions are expected.

Providing and Maintaining Standards 

Providing and maintaining standards refer to the compliance with essential standards (SOP’s and others) for the task completion. Supervision and intervention in the case of deviations from standards by other crew members is also part of this skill. If the situation requires, non-standard procedures might be necessary. Such deviations shall be discussed and announced.

Planning and Co-ordination

Planning and co-ordination refers to applying an appropriate concept for organized task-sharing and delegation in order to achieve top performance and to avoid workload peaks and dips. Communication of plans and intentions leads to coordinated activities within the whole crew. Page 22 


Example of Good Leadership Practices

  • Advocates own position
  • Takes initiative to ensure involvement and task completion 
  • Takes command if situation requires 
  • Motivates crew by appreciation and coaches when necessary 
  • Ensures SOP compliance 
  • Intervenes if task completion deviates from standards 
  • Having consulted the crew deviates from standard procedures if situation requires 
  • Encourages crew participation in planning and task completion 
  • Clearly states intentions and goals 
  • Having consulted crew, changes plan if necessary 

Red Flags 

  • Tasks not prioritized, resulting in errors or omissions 
  • Not assertive 
  • Crew inputs ignored 
  • Lack of critical knowledge 
  • Crew members are highly critical or judgmental 
  • Crew members fail to discuss differences of opinion 
  • There is no direction or management of an event or situation 
  • Crew members fail to recognize conflict 

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