One of America’s greatest pilots has much to say about leadership, particularly for those leading dangerous, stressful, and difficult situations under pressure.
- In a recent leadership column, HomeServices of America CEO Gino Blefari discussed leadership lessons he learned from reading the autobiography of famed U.S. airman Chuck Yeager.
- He says that Yeager exemplifies five examples of strong leadership—finding comfort in the uncomfortable, leading by example, perseverance, being thirsty for knowledge, and relying on experience.
- Blefari writes a regular company-wide Thoughts on Leadership column and has discussed other topics, such as the value of baseball rivalries.
Why It’s Important
Chuck Yeager remains one of the greatest pilots in U.S. history, leading a distinguished 34-year career as a pilot, becoming an Ace during World War II, and becoming the first human to break the sound barrier aboard the Bell X-1 on October 14, 1947.
As Blefari writes, Yeager was an exemplary military leader due to his natural skill and cool head under pressure, which allowed him to thrive in one of the most historically significant military careers in history, a “textbook case of leading by example.” He set high standards for himself and his teams, and he accomplished incredible feats, including shooting down five aircraft in a single mission, more than most pilots accomplish in an entire career.
“Many times in the book, Yeager references the value of pushing past your comfort zone to achieve success. It’s something he did throughout his lifetime—as a fighter pilot in World War II, testing the experimental plane that broke the sound barrier, and as a leader of one of the most effective fighter squadrons to ever exist. Many people recognize Yeager as one of the greatest military pilots ever, and it’s in large part due to his ability to not only step outside his comfort zone but also thrive once he got there,” says Blefari.
“So, what’s the message? Yeager famously noted that just before the sound barrier is broken, the plane’s cockpit shakes more than at any other point in the flight. But without this risk, there is no reward. Yeager’s view? ‘You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.’”