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Never fly solo; use a wingman

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in Leaders & Managers

We all have our blind spots. For a pilot, that spot is the six o’clock position, and it’s the job of a wingman to “check six,” or keep an eye on a pilot’s vulnerable spot.

Without the help of his wingman, says Air Force fighter pilot Rob “Waldo” Waldman, he could not have overcome fear, anxiety and self-doubt to fly combat missions.

Stretch the metaphor to the workplace, and it’s the leader who could use a wingman to “give you mission-critical feedback, catch your errors, ask questions, and propose challenging scenarios to push you to grow in your skills and mental discipline,” says Waldman.

First step: Invest time in building trusting relationships.

Says Waldman, “It’s the relationships we build and the people whom we trust that give us the courage to take risks and make ourselves better.”

— Adapted from Never Fly Solo, Rob “Waldo” Waldman, McGraw-Hill.

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