Aviation Leadership Principles and Traits
by Kent B. Lewis
(shamelessly adapted from the U. S. Marine Corps)

Aviation Leadership Principles

  • Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  • Be technically and operationally proficient.
  • Develop a sense of responsibility among your team mates (FSS, ATC, maintenance, crew, FSDO, AOPA, EAA).
  • Make sound and timely decisions.
  • Set the example.
  • Know your team and look out for their welfare.
  • Keep your team informed.
  • Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
  • Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.
  • Train as a team.
  • Employ your command in accordance with its capabilities.

Aviation Leadership Traits

  • Dependability
    • The certainty of proper performance of all duties.
  • Bearing
    • Creating a favorable impression in carriage, appearance and personal conduct at all times.
  • Courage
    • The mental and physical quality that recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables one to proceed (or not proceed) in the face of it with calmness and firmness.
  • Decisiveness
    • Ability to make decisions promptly and to announce them in clear, forceful manner.
  • Endurance
    • The mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress and hardship.
  • Enthusiasm
    • The display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duties.
  • Initiative
    • Taking action in the absence of orders or regulations.
  • Integrity
    • Uprightness of character and soundness of moral principles; includes the qualities of truthfulness and honesty.
  • Judgment
    • The ability to weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions.
  • Justice
    • Giving reward and punishment according to merits of the case in question. The ability to administer a system of rewards and punishments impartially and consistently.
  • Knowledge
    • Understanding of a science or an art. The range of one’s information, including professional knowledge and an understanding of your craft.
  • Loyalty
    • The quality of faithfulness to country, to one’s passengers and team.
  • Tact
    • The ability to deal with others without creating offense.
  • Unselfishness
    • Avoidance of providing for one’s own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.

For a fun time, compare these USMC principles with W. E. Deming’s 14 STEPS TO TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT


or consider Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of Highly Effective People

1. Be proactive: Principles of Personal Vision
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first: Principles of Personal Management
4. Think win/win: Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6. Synergize Principles of Creative Communication
7. Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
and this just in, the 8th habit..
8. From effectiveness to greatness


Aviation History

Contact info: kent@signalcharlie.net