10 Leadership Tips From Israeli Air Force Pilots

Being a great leader is anything but easy. Often, leadership can be a wild ride. Luckily, we’ve compiled this list of awesome tips from IAF pilots that will have you running your team effectively in no time. Here are 10 ways to buckle down and become the best leader that you can be.

Be Reliable

As a leader, the buck stops with you. IAF pilots are given massive amounts of responsibility. They fly sophisticated planes that require in-depth understanding and advanced technical skill. They are trusted to carry out dangerous and important missions. The safety of millions of Israelis often sits squarely on their shoulders. Our pilots know that consistency and reliability foster trust and credibility with their colleagues and peers.

Always Aim to Prove Yourself

Becoming a leader does not mean that it is time to sit back and relax. Our pilots believe in the constant need to prove their ability.

The IAF Pilots Course receives close to 7,000 applications per year. Out of those 7,000, around 300 get accepted. On average, only 40 actually graduate.

Throughout their three-year course, the cadets consistently have to prove they deserve their spot. Our pilots carry that same attitude into the heat of battle. They must constantly prove that they belong in the seat of one of the most sophisticated machines ever built.

Never Slack

Never settle for doing anything halfway. IAF pilots know that they need to be willing to do whatever anyone else does, only better.

Give 100% effort, 100% of the time. It is important to go above and beyond what is required to motivate your team, colleagues, and peers to perform at the highest level.

Cooperation is the Name of the Game

For IAF pilots, nothing is ever as simple as “flying solo.” The IAF is built around cooperation. Pilots rely on navigators, weapons systems operators, mechanics, and more, in order to successfully complete their mission.

Motivating others, inspiring innovative ideas, and actively listening to those around you is key to leadership success.

Be Gritty

Don’t let failures get you down. Bouncing back is what separates great leaders from the rest. Each cadet in the IAF Pilots Course is tested over and over again during their course. They don’t ALWAYS succeed the first time around. The pilots that graduated are the ones that bounce back again and again and never stop fighting for their dream.

Be An Example

Show, don’t tell. Become the person that everyone around you wants to be. IAF pilots know that their actions often set the tone for the entire IDF. They know that Israel looks up to them as the standard bearers of excellence, professionalism, and duty.

Envision Success

The IAF Pilots Course is three long years. It’s anything but easy. 18-year-old cadets are thrown into the course headfirst. They face challenge after challenge.

To succeed, they have to maintain their motivation, and keep their head held up high, no matter how stressed or tired they are. The key is their ability to envision their eventual success. 

According to research using brain imagery, when we envision success, the neurons in our brain transmit information, interpret the imagery as it it was real life. This creates a new neural pathway, a cluster of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors. These pathways prime our body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined. With the visualization of success filling our pilots’ minds, anything is possible.

Be Organized

Nowadays, information moves so fast that it can often be hard to keep up. Phone calls, text messages, emails, and meetings fill our schedules. It’s easy to be stressed as we rush from place to place. We often get distracted and confused.

The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day just looking for things. That’s equal to 6 weeks per year! That time doesn’t need to be wasted.

IAF pilots know that organization allows them to be more focused, more productive, and helps them zero in on the mission at hand.

Never Stop Learning

There are always new skills to learn and new techniques to adopt. Succeeding as a pilot, where the technology never stops advancing, requires constant learning and self-improvement.

Do you know what the best part of learning is? It’ll make you happier as an individual and irreplaceable to your team. And, in a leadership role, you’ll be able to pass on that knowledge to others around you.

Build Strong Relationships

People who have great relationships with co-workers were found to be seven times more engaged in their jobs. Instead of spending energy overcoming problems, you’ll be able to focus on opportunities that will advance you and your team.

The IAF builds workplace camaraderie amongst its pilots right from the start. For their three-year course, the cadets eat, sleep, and learn side by side.


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