I have had the honor of serving the MSU Precision Flight Team over this past year.  Many thoughts cross my mind as these pilots learn the true principles of being a leader while preparing for when they take flight.

Many of us remember the movie “Top Gun” with several famous lines and many from the star, Maverick.  For most of the movie Maverick showed up as arrogant, cocky and selfish not typically descriptive of great leadership.

Iceman on the other hand showed up calm and powerful calling out Maverick on his ‘stuff’,,, “Maverick, it’s not your flying, it’s your attitude. The enemy’s dangerous, but right now you’re worse. Dangerous and foolish. You may not like who’s flying with you, but whose side are you on?”

We all find our place as a leader eventually, however in certain situations a true leader must step in, step forward and think of others first.  Maverick and his accountability issues to self and others were clearly documented in the movie.  Flying at incredible speeds with or without an enemy in the sky your relationship with your co-pilot is critical.

As you watch the movie see where and who exhibited the five principles of leadership….integrity, accountability, courage, passion and humility.  Building trust and credibility was instant for Iceman and not so for Maverick.  Who are you and who do you want others to see.  We are not in a movie but rather a serious game called life.  Trust and humility must be present to successfully lead a team and complete the mission and it will not exist unless true service leadership is present.

Leadership can place us in awkward situations where we might not have all the answers or solutions.  There will be risk and in fact some risk is expected.  However, those we lead want us to be predictable, demonstrating understanding of our vision and objectives.  Communication is crucial amongst our team and those we lead so clarity with our direction is critical as we create agreement.

Maverick learned that his beliefs and attitude were affecting his behavior.  The movie showed him being reflective on more than one occasion.  When was the last time you realized you or a team member needed their behavior to be questioned?  To possess an amazing skill set (competency) is not enough if you are not showing up powerfully.  In the case of being a pilot you don’t have time to reflect in the cockpit as all the planning and preparation needs to be done on the ground and in the classroom.

As we grow in leadership many times we must take the risk, take flight and lead our teams into unknown territory not having all the answers.  But with courage, accountability, passion, integrity and most of all humility you can state the words; “Mission accomplished.”

Final thoughts I want to share the success of the MSU Precision Flight Team for their courage, passion and humility.  The team set lofty goals heading into the season and recently took 2nd in the Flying Events and 3rd Overall at the NIFA Region 1 competition at the U.S. Air Force Academy earlier this month.  By accomplishing their objectives the Team secured a spot in the NIFA National competition next May at Indiana State University.

Always,

Greg

P.S: The team after the banquet with the tradition of serious faces and sunglasses.