Never Fly Solo

Emma De Vita checks out the management advice of fighter pilot Lieutenant Colonel Rob 'Waldo' Waldman

Lieutenant colonel Rob 'Waldo' Waldman is the kind of wingman that Tom Cruise would have wanted in Top Gun. A former US Air Force fighter pilot, he applies to management the lessons he learned during death-defying combat and training exploits, showing how to turn ordinary colleagues into supportive wingmen.

Waldo argues in Never Fly Solo that the best way for a manager to reach peak performance is to use the support of trusted colleagues. With them, you'll be able "to change and adapt quicker than an F-14". Are you ready to accept the mission?

The chapter entitled "Walk the Flight Line" is all about "connecting with your wingmen" - or, in plain English, getting to know your team and what they do every day. For Waldo, working alongside the maintenance people in the hangar for the day "painted a clear picture of what really went into giving me a jet that was mission-ready." He learned that "a true leader is a servant" and that a leader needs to have influence and command respect - something you gain through your actions: "what you say, how you dress and how you treat others is being judged all day, every day." It's only by appreciating your wingmen that you can be a true top gun.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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