Leveraging Leadership

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Emily Sander

22 April 2024

37m 20s

Air Traffic Controller to Chief of Staff: The Power of Humility & Prioritization with Jim Terheyden



You’ve heard the analogy used to describe a COS, but is it true? Jim Terheyden was a real-life air traffic controller in the Marines. Hear his take!

Jim and I also talked about the theme of humility in the role, managing team dynamics, spearheading an overseas initiative, and knowing which balls to drop when you get overwhelmed.

Jim on LinkedIn


Jim Terheyden is a seasoned leadership expert with a rich background as a former Marine air traffic controller, bringing military precision to strategic business guidance. His adeptness at navigating complex team dynamics and steering projects through uncertainty has made him a venerated Chief of Staff in the business world. Jim champions the cultivation of resilience, adaptability, and emotional detachment in decision-making, ensuring organizations thrive even amidst unpredictability. His experience highlights the importance of humility and collaboration, making him a guiding force for companies looking to foster a culture of dynamic leadership and team synergy.

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00:55 The Analogy of Air Traffic Controller and Chief of Staff

01:41 The Invisible Impact of a Chief of Staff

02:13 The Challenges of Interdepartmental Clashes

03:48 The Role of a Chief of Staff in a Startup

06:01 The Importance of Humility and Flexibility in Leadership

10:48 The Role of a Chief of Staff in Facilitating Team Dynamics

13:38 The Challenge of Managing a Remote Team

14:12 The Importance of Trust in a Team

21:19 The Role of a Chief of Staff in Project Management

31:16 The Importance of Investing in Your Team

36:50 Key Takeaways

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Emily Sander is a C-suite executive turned leadership coach. Her corporate career spanned Fortune 500 companies and scrappy start-ups. She is an ICF-certified leadership coach and the author of two books, An Insider’s Perspective on the Chief of Staff and Hacking Executive Leadership. Emily works with early to senior executives to step into effective leadership with one-on-one coaching. Go here to read her story from seasoned executive to knowledgeable coach.

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