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Helping Leaders Form Deeper Connections by Building Active Listening & Feedback Skills

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Based on operational performance and financial results, Copa Airlines is one of the world’s best-performing airlines. But Copa leaders aren’t resting on their laurels.

Copa serves a large market, the Americas, where air travel is projected to grow faster than the global average. Not only has the company grown rapidly for nearly 2 decades, but in recent years, its workforce has shifted to a younger demographic. Employee engagement at Copa is generally high. However, one of its 2 culture-based KPIs — Copa’s Leadership Index — wasn’t at optimal levels.

In response, the airline spent 15 months assessing whether its formal leadership behaviors, established more than a decade earlier, were still valid and as effective as they could be. Copa’s Learning & Development department and Corporate Communications team conducted more than 50 focus groups with employees across all functions and at all organizational levels. They asked employees what behaviors they wanted and expected from leaders. After a deep analysis of that input, Copa established 5 new leadership behaviors. Leaders should:

  • Inspire with their work, friendliness, and positivism.
  • Live the company’s values, and be a role model at all times.
  • Listen and communicate frequently and respectfully.
  • Know their people and care about their well-being.
  • Guide, develop, and recognize their teams.

Historically, Copa’s leaders have focused on business goals. Now the airline’s leaders would be asked to better connect with the people they lead, helping the airline continue its strong performance. Copa needed a partner to help implement training that would allow these new leadership attributes to take flight.

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