Leadership In Aviation Essay


Construct a leadership journal that demonstrates your understanding of key leadership theories, and concepts you have learned through this course.



Leadership is identified as the process through which an individual tends to motivate, influence and direct a group of individuals for meeting targeted objectives and goals. An effective leader focuses on formulating a vision while aims to operate in a passionate, flexible, creative, innovative, inspiring, experimental and adventurous fashion and also readily adapts to external changes. Essential differences between a manager and a leader are reflected in the following illustration.

(Algahtani, 2014)

The above figure essentially reflects that a leader always focuses to work from his heart while business managers are specifically focused in working through the use of the mind or head.

Key Leadership Theories

Charry during 2012 identified and segregated leadership theories into eight main types which are reflected as follows.

Great Man Theory of Leadership

The great man theory of leadership reflects that leaders are born and cannot be made to emerge in a society or in an institution. It identifies leaders as heroic individuals that possess innate qualities and potentials in leading a nation or organisation. Further, the word ‘man’ was coined for it was taken that inborn leaders are mainly males.

Trait Theory of Leadership

The Trait Theory of Leadership like the Great Man Theory also reflects that some innate qualities or traits in individuals contribute in making them effective leaders. Specific sets of behavioural characteristics contribute in shaping like personalities to be featured as leaders.

Contingency Theory of Leadership

Contingency theory of leadership reflects that different set of circumstances or contingencies give rise to specific leadership styles. It thus identifies that one specific style of leadership fails to address the needs of different environments and circumstances and thus gives rise to diverse leadership qualities (Lussier & Achua, 2015).

Situational Theory of Leadership

The Situational theory of leadership reflects that actions and decisions are chosen upon by the leaders depending on the nature of different sets of circumstances or situations. In cases where a leader is already acknowledged for his or her experiences and leadership qualities an authoritarian style is rendered while in cases where the group contains different individuals with diverse skills and potentials, a democratic style of leadership is preferred.

Behavioural Theory of Leadership

The Behavioural Theory of Leadership in sharp contrast to the Great Man theory postulates that leaders are made rather than being born. It reflects that leaders are developed by organisations through helping individuals pass through needed training and coaching and also based on gaining of work experiences (Gill, 2011).

Participative Theory of Leadership

The participative theory of leadership is empathetic in nature for it focuses on encompassing the views of other individuals regarding the formulation of business and operational decisions. It encourages the management to work in a collaborative and participative fashion by taking into account inputs rendered by others.

Transactional Theory of Leadership

Transactional theory of leadership is essentially attributed to the transactional relationships and exchanges that take place between supervisors and subordinates involved in an organisational setting. It bears positive and negative reinforcements like rewards and punishments for getting the job done (Lynch, 2012).

Transformational Theory of Leadership

The Transformational Theory of Leadership reflects on the need for leaders that focus on guiding individuals to adapt to external changes or transformations. Here, leaders focus on motivating and guiding individuals to work in meeting change objectives and goals.

Skill Theory of Leadership

The Skill Theory of Leadership acknowledges that individuals are made through acquiring of different skills and knowledge and not based on inherited traits and styles (Rudani, 2013).

Traits of an Effective Leader

An effective leader reflects different traits that are highlighted as follows.

Emotional Stability

Effective leaders are such that have the potential in managing different types of stressful situations like frustration and growing stress in the workplace.


Leaders are required to work in an assertive fashion when taking decisions and also in dealing with their subordinate staffs.


As leaders they are required to operate in an energetic fashion and also must be open in welcoming and adapting to external changes as and when required (Rozkwitalska, 2012).

Accountable and Responsible

Leaders are required to act in a responsible fashion regarding the meeting of departmental and institutional objectives. They usually focus on acting in a self disciplined fashion to create a sense of decorum and order in the workplace.

Risk Taking Attitude

Leaders are also required to act with due courage for readily facing unforeseen circumstances and also are required to have increased amount of Emotional Intelligence that helps in taking the right decision (Shi & Wang, 2011).

Hard and Committed Workers

Leaders require setting themselves as potential examples before their subordinates in terms of reflecting themselves as hard-workers and committed individuals in meeting of departmental and organisational objectives.

Empathising Mentality

An effective leader is required to rightly empathize with the needs and understandings of his or her fellow colleagues and subordinate staffs operating in an institution. The understanding of one’s expectations, needs, fears and potentialities helps the managers or leaders to ideally assign the right task and also in taking effective decisions.

Visionary and Charismatic

Effective leaders are observed to reflect a charismatic and visionary personality to be able to attract and influence the minds of internal people in the organisation (Podsiadlowski, Gr?schke, & Kogler, 2013).

Role of a Leader in Group Effectiveness

A leader operating in a group setting is required to develop on his or her communication approaches such that the right quality of communication would help in paving success for the group. Effective communication skills thus turn out to be one of the most needed qualities for leaders operating in a group setting. Communication with group members becomes problematic for the leader owing to existence of larger groups, diverse set of individuals belonging to different regions and ethnicities, speaking in different languages and belonging to diverse cultures and also opining differently on matters of common interests. Differences in opinions with also the influence of stronger members dominating the mindset of others tends to create internal conflicts. It is in such circumstances that communication serves as a key tool in the hands of leaders to potentially interact with the team members and thereby contribute in resolving the internal conflicts within the team (Ferdman & Sagiv, 2012).

As a group leader, the individual is required to interact directly with the team members and encourage participation to gain relevant insights for resolving the conflicts. The leader can focus on the development of discussion forums while also aiming at incorporating of games like ice-breaking or brainstorming new ideas for generating potential solutions. In the age of internet, the group leader is required to focus on incorporating technological platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Groups, electronic mails and other intranet platforms for encouraging group members involved in larger groups to share new ideas and views. The same would help in generating greater interaction and transparency in a group setting thereby helping in meeting of group objectives in a desired fashion (Khanaki & Hassanzadeh, 2010).

Characteristics of Successful Leaders in Aviation Industry

The characteristics of successful leaders in the Aviation Industry are rendered as follows. An Aviator is majorly observed to reflect an authoritarian style of leadership such that the ultimate control rests on the hand of an aircraft pilot. The captain in the cockpit makes his or her intentions and orders very lucid for the co-pilot to follow and act on such behalf. Further, the flight captain takes a very paternalistic approach in dealing with the passengers and other staffs involved like the crew members with also the co-pilots. The paternalistic leader taking a fatherly role also demands needed trust, loyalty and needed obedience from the passengers and staffs. Further, in the Aviation Industry the style of Participative or Democratic leadership is also followed such that the leader focuses on encouraging participation and involvement of colleagues and other subordinate staffs for brainstorming effective solutions to emerging problems concerning flights (Olsen & Martins, 2012).

The Aviator is also observed to reflect the features of a transactional leadership style in that the individual is versed with the code of conducts and standard operational procedures and focuses on reinforcing the rules through the incorporation of positive and negative reinforcements. Finally, leaders in the Aviation Industry are also observed to act like transformational leaders such that they focus on taking on risky projects and also tend to incorporate new strategies for meeting desired objectives. These transformational leaders reflect needed charisma and are self-confident in their approach. Moreover, acting like transformational leaders they focus on aptly communicating their decisions to the crew members and other airline staffs for helping in bringing out needed transformations in the existing approaches and routes (Olcott, 2014).

Contribution of Leaders in Organisations

While operating in the hospitality industry of a three star hotel as a trainee manager it was observed the manner in which the senior leadership of the organisation focused on incorporating democratic or participative leadership style for satisfying the employees and in enhancing employee and organisational productivity and growth. The senior leadership continually focused on the development of training programs for enhancing the skill and knowledge base of the employees. Further, the higher management also encouraged the participation of the subordinate members in the organisation for taking part in decision making and also in brainstorming different tactics for attracting and enhancing customer visits. Democratic and participative leadership style being employed in the three star hotels contributed in increasing the accountability of the staffs for generating greater productivity (Al-Ababneh, 2013).

The apparel retail firms especially those operating in the fast fashion segment are observed to face potential challenges owing to continual and emergent changes in consumer demands regarding different styles. The same affected the sales of the retail institutions leading to losses. Transformational leadership style was thus required for the industry where visionary leaders focused on rendering needed agility in the supply chain paradigm through the incorporation of effective technologies like RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags and bar codes and also POS (Point-of-Sales) scanners with also ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) software. Incorporation of the above technologies rightly contributed in tracking the movement of merchandises along the store outlets, warehouses and supplier stations. It thereby helped in effective demand and supply chain forecasting and thereby in allocating the right pattern of garments to the stores thereby enhancing sales performances and profitability (Gray & Williams, 2012).

Positive Impact of Leadership on performances of Aviation Firms

The case of the leadership issues faced by United Airlines can be effectively mentioned here. Oscar Munoz’s leadership style in United Airlines can be rightly analysed as a participative or democratic leader where he prioritises the conducting of dialogues with labour leaders as helpful in generating effective solutions to contractual issues and for conducting the airliner’s operation in a potential fashion. However, the participative leadership style of Oscar Munoz is questioned by hedge fund companies and other investors such that they potentially feel absence of needed performance and leadership along different aspects (LeBeau, 2016).

Other cases of CEO’s impact on the airlines industry relate to the action of James Hogan operating as the CEO of Etihad Airlines. James Hogan’s strategic focus on development of airline partnership had contributed in the generation of hub networking model for the airlines institution. Different types of partnership agreements emerged out of Hogan’s strategic decision like that of codeshare agreements and subsequently for creation of equity alliances. Etihad operating under Hogan’s leadership earned the potential for acquiring holdings in about six airliners while it also developed around 50 different codeshare agreements with other airliners (CAPA, 2012).

Determinants of Organisational Performance in Aviation Industry

Different factors like frequency of long haul flights, utilisation rates of aircraft, existence of effective operational plans for aircraft operations for economising the employment of fuel resources are observed as potential determinants for the performance of the airlines companies. It is also analysed the manner of organising the company board of the airline companies also tend to render an impact on the performance of the aviation companies. Again, the aviation industry can be effectively segmented into Full Service Carrier (FSC) and Low Cost Carrier (LCC) aircrafts (Albers, Baum, Auerbach, & Delfmann, 2017). The performances of FSC are determined by the existence and potential of the hub-and-spoke network, operation of short, medium and even long haul flights and also the membership of the airline companies in different alliances. The performance potential of the LCC Aircrafts are determined in terms of the cost advantages rendered by them compared to FSCs. Along with the above stated internal factors, other external determinants like the political, economic, social, technological, ecological and legal factors and environment also influence the performances of the aviation industry (Jomo, Oloko, & Orwa, 2017).


The analysis reflects different theories of leadership and also on other empirical facets like traits of an effective leader in both general context and also from the viewpoint of the aviation industry. Further, the analysis also reflected from practical viewpoint the cases of effective leadership and its impacts on organisations both on a general context and also relating to the case of the airlines companies.


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