When I read non-fiction, it is usually biographies and autobiographies. As my career continues to develop, I find studies in leadership probative, both in a cautionary and instructive way. But while leadership and dominance are not synonymous, sometimes leadership just shines right through. That’s the sort of leadership I notice when I watch American Airlines CEO Doug Parker.
Leadership: Watch Doug Parker Dominate
Parker and other U.S. airlines CEOs were at the White House last week to discuss a second payroll support package as the October 1st deadline looms. Addressing a press gaggle after the meeting, Parker stole the show.
Watch him and watch United CEO Scott Kirby to his right. He takes the front and center. He takes off his mask and Kirby follows. A reporter asks if the the CEOs will answer questions or issue a statement, and seemingly spur-of-the-moment Parker decides for everyone that a statement will be issued…and he will issue it. And speaking contemporaneously, he does a good job.
And he does so nonchalantly, with his hands in his pockets.
He pauses and turns to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly instead of his former colleague and protege Kirby. That’s equally interesting because Southwest Airlines does not plan to furlough any workers this years, whether additional payroll support is offered or not.
After Kelly finishes his statement, a reporter asks a question and Kelly turns around to go back inside. But Parker stops to answer. As more questions are shouted, he says, “Thanks y’all” and also turns around and the others follow right behind him.
Again, I’m not reducing leadership down to who is the most assertive or aggressive. Quite the contrary, the most important leadership quality of integrity is often hidden from the public view, for it involves doing the right thing even when no one is looking. But there’s something to be said for Parker confidently taking center stage and answering on behalf of everyone. Anyway, not sure how much we can draw from it, but it really caught my attention…