Job Matching – Not Always a Matter of Life or Death, But…

Pilot SML WEBThe plane banked at 41 degrees, when it is rare to hit a 25-degree roll. A window broke and shrapnel began spraying into the aircraft, a passenger was partially sucked out and later passed away.  In another incident a flock of Canadian geese hit an airplane disabling it and ultimately winding up in the Hudson River.

When organizations hire employees, it is always best to try and match the people to the right job in terms of knowledge, skills, and attributes. The two pilots, Tammie Jo Shults and Chesley B. Sullenberger, III. (Sully), are the two pilots in the respective incidents who are responsible for saving hundreds of lives. Good job matching indeed. Having the skills to fly an aircraft is certainly a skill both pilots share. The other attribute they share is high emotional intelligence (EQ). Upon landing Tammie Jo had the presence of mind to thank the tower operators for their help. Sully had the presence of mind to keep from hitting a bridge and seeing a boat in the water thinking to land near that boat to get passengers to it upon landing. Throughout their ordeals, they both were calm, cool, and collected.

While our work lives may not contain such high drama, we often create drama due to poor job matches or low EQ. When people are not in the right jobs stress ensues. Following that, poor performance and low productivity emerge. The stress impacts health and the workplace culture; and poor performance negatively impacts career goals and the organization’s succession plans creating a vicious circle.  EQ – and good job matches – begin at the top.

Even when a plane is in trouble, there are “rules of engagement.” The pilot announces to the co-pilot that he or she has control or as Sully states in the case of his dilemma, “My aircraft.” The co-pilot gives his response, “Your aircraft.” What if the co-pilot or second in command began yelling, “On no you don’t, you took control last time, it’s my turn now!” Job matching is not always a matter of life and death, but, such conflicts in leadership can spell the demise of an organization creating drama and disaster for all its stakeholders.

These two airline situations serve to illustrate the importance of job matching, EQ, and how each create a foundation for effective leadership.

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Graphic Credit:


Deva, A. (2016, September). Is “my aircraft” a Usual Thing That Pilots Say in Some Situations, or was it special in Chesley Sullenberger’s case? Quora.

Kaitlin, L. (2014, August). How Emotional Intelligence Affects Work Success. Career Builder.

Karimi, F. & Almasy, S. (2018, April). Southwest Pilots Righted Plan Quickly After Engine Failed. CNN

Job Matching; Talent Management