It’s 2016, so let’s have a happy new year. And in this space over the next several months, let’s chew over how we know and choose good leaders. We will explore from an angelic perspective—Blue Angel, that is.

The members of our US Navy’s precision flying team are ‘youngish’. There is nothing abstract about the leader/team dynamic of world best. It is real for them. It is performed—every second—every time—perfectly.

George Dom held command of the Blue Angels in the late 80s, after the USAF Thunderbird crash in 1982. The perfectly symmetrical crash site of their diamond formation burned into his being. That is what zero tolerance looks like from Blue Angel perspective. There is no room for hesitation or error, no allowance to have a bad day.

After 30 plus years in aviation leadership, what George Dom lived in the cockpit—what he and his team members came to know in bone and sinew—turns out to be that which is core to effective, superior leadership in every and all regards. It begins with trust.

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

-Colin Powell