Samuel Ellenberger - Head of Civil Regional Aerodromes
Samuel Ellenberger quickly took on significant responsibility at skyguide, as head of the civilian regional aerodromes. He is inspired in his work by the values of Korean sword fighting.
Mr Ellenberger, you were already a member of skyguide’s management at the age of 27. How did you make such quick progress?
I had already seen various aspects of skyguide in a relatively short time, and had gained experience in both the operational business and the technical area. I was then able to use my knowledge in some key projects, which increased my visibility. Of course, it also takes a little luck to be in the right place at the right time. I also have a healthy ambition and enjoy challenges.
What challenges did you face as a young leader?
Shortly after my promotion to team leader, I also took over management of all civil and military regional airports ad interim for a few months – an entire department with various projects and challenges. That was a key experience for me. I had to set clear priorities, delegate and make decisions. I’ve learned that you can never please everyone, but it’s essential to listen to employees, to involve them and to communicate well.
What influence does your sport, Korean sword fighting, have on your work and leadership style?
The martial art is a school of life and has many positive characteristics. The training provides strength and energy. My presence when I enter a room or lead a meeting has been strengthened. I also owe my ability to focus and concentrate on one goal to swordfighting. But it’s actually the philosophy behind the martial arts that guides me in my daily work. Core values such as dignity, respect and discipline in dealing with my environment are reflected in my management style, and are appreciated by my employees.
So martial arts and business can be combined well?
Absolutely. With my master Giuseppe Ferrandino I founded a school and teach there myself (www.kajzen.ch). This has taught me, for example, how to explain new concepts, to hold difficult conversations, and to speak in plenary sessions. Values such as patience, interest in people, the ability to listen – all these are imparted by sword fighting. This is why KajZen also offers business seminars in which martial arts and management are combined.
How do you create space for this sporting commitment?
I could actually work around the clock. But that’s not the goal. It is important that family and leisure time are not neglected. Even as a manager, I have to set my limits clearly and be able to leave the office in good time. Skyguide respects this and supports me with a flexible working model, among other things.
Universum, Life Careerism 2017