By Soumaya Ben Letaifa
In 2017, Airlines globally posted US$38 billion after-tax profit representing US$9.27 average profit per passenger.The African industry improved profitability but is still making a net after taxloss of $100 million. Meeting rising expectations and boosting profitability requires new technologies and capabilities-and therefore new competencies (PWC report, 2019). There is a need not only to invest in products and technologies, but also in talent and culture.
According to the AFRAA SG report on the state of the industry “Human capacity and skills will be critical for African Aviation in the Future”. In other words, the lack of leadership and management capabilities affects the profitability. The reason is quite simple : there is a need to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. This requires at least leadership and management competencies.
But it also requires Self-Leadership : in a complex and uncertain environment, air transport industry managers have to rely on their own added value, to become aware of their behaviours, to focus on their motivations and to have the courage to put in place an action plan. It’s through being self-conscious and self-confident that they can lead others. In an increasingly demanding and constantly evolving aviation world and elsewhere, self-leadership helps those who have responsibilities to become more effective and impactful.
Is it only a matter of personal growth for the leaders ? Unleashing the airline industry potential means to unlock the individual potential and to enable collective intelligence to thrive within each company. For that, companies are challenged to develop 4 axes :
- Implementation of collective intelligence
- Supporting change
- Mobilization of networks and communities of practice
- Mobilisation of a team around the leader
If organizational tools may help to improve these dimensions, they can only be fostered through new leadership practices:
- Capacity for initiatives and innovation
- Confidence, serenity, better management of one’s personal energy
- Courage and continuous learning
Energy – like trust, courage or confidence- can’t be thought as a management tool. If leading others has still to be trained, Self-Leadership has since a decade become the new means to help leaders to take the driver’s seat with their whole set of assets.
Finally, the essence of transformative growth among aviation companies relies in empowering managers and leaders to enable them to take their place, their rightful place. The future of airline industry will require unleashing the full potential of people. In current complex and rapidly changing ecosystems, we need to shape tomorrow’s leadership through Self Leadership training programs.