Leading through Vision, Inspiration and Interaction.

Jaclyn Crawford Foresight, Guest Post, Leadership, Marketing Leave a Comment

An executive shares his simple, hands-on approach to leadership.

Great leaders instill motivation and inspiration in their employees. Rob Friedman,  Vice President of Marketing at American Airlines, has found the best way to do this is as simple as interacting with his team. Here he explains his ideas and methodologies on effective leadership tactics.

Leading With a Vision

“Everyone throughout the organization needs to play an active role in developing the company’s vision and they need to clearly understand what their role is in supporting that vision.

When my employees are performing a task or function they don’t feel is supportive of the vision, I’ve always encouraged them to ask why they are doing something. It ensures everyone within the organization understands the vision and it helps him or her articulate effectively if there is a misunderstanding. If there is work being done that does not support the vision, it can be stopped.”

Inspire & Motivate

“The way you inspire and motivate is to ensure everyone feels they are part of the larger vision and have input. By having everyone own that vision, you will always have an inspired and motivated team.

I also make sure that every day, with every interaction, I show my team the utmost respect because that is what I expect them to show me and, more importantly, our customers. We put the customer at the center of everything we do, and by treating them the way we want to be treated, we will continue to win more customers and increase their loyalty. I believe happy employees lead to happy customers, and that’s what it’s all about.”


“I like to walk around and see people in their offices and in various settings. That personal interaction is key. I encourage my employees to make certain that every interaction with a customer makes the customer feel valued. That is equally important within the organization: With every interaction, individuals on my team feel valued.

As a leader, do not always have your staff come to your office or conference room, but instead go to them and see what they are working on. I always find it incredibly insightful to stop by individuals’ offices and say, ‘What are you working on?’ or ask them questions about something I know they are doing, or even offer constructive criticism and have a dialogue. Dialogue is key for me to understand their perspective and for them to understand mine.”



Rob Friedman is the Vice President of Marketing at American Airlines. He was featured in Issue 11 of Forefront Magazine.

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