Developing leaders to be successful organizational communicators

United Airlines: Developing leaders to be successful organizational communicators


Emerging from history’s sixth largest bankruptcy, United Airlines needed to continue engaging frontline leaders and ensure that employees were receiving messages that would promote future success.

United undertook a Leadership Communications Skill Training program, successfully reaching over 900 leaders. The program promoted effective two-way communications with employees while reinforcing United’s journey towards continuous improvement and achieving organizational excellence.


  • Enhance the communication skills of managers and supervisors to continue sharing pertinent information, both operational and business oriented, to employees in a
    high-pressure and dynamic work environment.
  • Reinforce future expectations of United’s frontline leadership in a performance-based culture so that employees feel engaged and connected to the organization as a whole.


  • Designed leader training that provided valuable ideas and strategies which were applicable to daily interactions with employees. Specifically:
    • Helped leaders understand the future expectations of United’s front line in a performance-based culture through the power of messaging.
    • Encouraged leaders to “own” United’s strategy, but convey it in their own words.
  • Dispatched 14 Gagen MacDonald facilitators to United locations.
  • Provided general coaching and communication support.
  • Results:

  • Trained more than 900 frontline leaders over a three-month period to:
    • Effectively engage in two-way dialogue with employees and help them connect to the larger organization’s mission, goals and values.
    • Tailor communications to create linkage between day-to-day activities
      and business outcomes.

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