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Managing a Team in Aviation and Other Industries

team resource managementManaging a team in any industry is not easy.

It is well known that managing team performance correctly can benefit any organization.

This is true specially in aviation where teams not only have to manage performance, but also errors and safety.

Managing a team means that you have to create a group of people that, together, can bring better results than having each member work individually. 

In aviation this means also managing errors, managing safety, increasing cooperation, putting together different levels of experiences and communicating in the right way to reach the best level of performance.

The most important evidence we have today that shows the positive effects of team work can be found in aviation itself.

CRM – Crew Resource Management showed how incidents and accidents have decreased dramatically after introducing this practice in airlines.

With CRM pilots get trained to work together. They learn how to communicate in a constructive way in order to perform the best way possible and reduce errors.

This means that pilots are not required to have excellent flying skills, but also excellent so called “soft skills” (communications, leadership, cooperation…).

It is not only a question of feeling good in a team, it is important to create the right situation the will make people work well together and therefore reduce errors and dangerous practices that can lead to some kind of disaster.

Team Resource Management

These same principles are applied¬†in aviation to managers and other members of staff of an airline, but it’s not called CRM, rather TRM – Team Resource Management.

The aim of TRM is simple:

  • Reduce team work related incidents
  • Enhance task efficiency
  • Improve use of staff resources
  • Increase job satisfaction

According to Eurocontrol there are also other benefits such as reduced consequences of unavoidable errors and enhance continuity and stability of team work in ATM (Air Traffic Management).

Can TRM be applied to NON-Aviation industries?

Clearly teams and team work are part of any organization.

The benefits of TRM were needed in aviation as part of SMS – Safety Management System, therefore this was the first industry that required this kind of practice.

Also other industries can benefit from TRM.

In organizational psychology there have been a number of studies on team management, leadership and team work. Already back in the 1920’s Elton Mayo understood the importance of Human Relations and how the environment and specially the organizational climate and culture can influence peoples performance.

The lesson that Elton Mayo taught us and that still today is true, is that when you give attention to a group of people they feel listened and they feel as if their contribution is important for the performance of the rest of the group.

These feelings increase the whole groups performance, but to achieve this level of participation, the most important element is communication.

Communicating well, respecting the other person, delegating responsibilities and trusting the members of your group, will lead to an increase of performance and loyalty.

These are crucial elements for any organization that wants people to work better, that want to increase efficiency and that give importance to people’s personal satisfaction.

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