Magazine article Black Enterprise

Crisis Management: An Airline Professional Says Establishing Trust Is the First Step in Effective Leadership

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Crisis Management: An Airline Professional Says Establishing Trust Is the First Step in Effective Leadership

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

How would you describe your leadership style?

Servant--leader is how I always describe my style. My job is to make sure that my team has everything they need to do their jobs. whether it's training, removing obstacles in their way, or additional resources.

You were named CIO of Delta just two weeks before the company's bankruptcy filing. During that time the company cut billions in costs. How did that affect your team? The technology team had three big events. First, we had the loss of ova CIO, who left for a different organization. Then we went into bankruptcy and then, to meet some of our targets, we did an outsourcing evaluation. All of those things came one right after the other. That's a lot for one organization to absorb. It was very challenging. Any one of those was enough, but you put all three of them together and it was like a perfect storm for us. The one thing that we had to leverage was the fact that I had been here for a while so people knew me, they trusted me. My biggest job was to over-communicate about everything that was happening. There were a lot of hard decisions that had to be made. It was a troubling time for everybody.

How did you prepare your team for what was coming? We had to make some hard calls in several areas, but we tried to communicate all along the process. We put up Websites, where

we promised the employees that we would We them updates every two weeks. We didn't want the whole water cooler rumor mill to develop, The employees wanted frequent communication. That was my promise to them. …

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