Management Matters: Professional Training

Aviation maintenance personnel always welcome the opportunity to attend technical training classes to enhance their ability to maintain today’s complex aircraft. In addition, obtaining the latest tools and support equipment is also a high priority in...

Sounds like a simple process, but if there is one area that causes more problems than any other, it is communication or better stated lack of good communication. It is a fact that verbal communication is approximately 30 percent efficient; therefore we must constantly work at improving our communication skills. Those who do not understand what is expected of them, have little, if any chance of achieving the desired results. A key part of communicating is listening. We must train ourselves to listen first and then respond.


Money is not always the prime motivator. We need money to pay our bills and care for our self and family; however, studies have confirmed that money is only a partial component when it comes to motivating people. Respect, job satisfaction, and recognition for a job well done are equally if not more important than compensation. We all want fair compensation; however, how often have we said or heard a word of thanks or recognition for a job well done that would have trumped money.


Attitudes are contagious and we are judged by our attitude every day. The attitude of the leader sets the tone in the workplace. During times of economic stress and heavy workloads a positive attitude can be the difference between success and failure. Positive attitudes support teamwork, mutual support, and respect. Negative attitudes foster the opposite environment and can be one of the most destructive forces in the workplace. We have control over our attitude and we can choose to be positive or negative. History has proven a positive attitude will improve any situation at work or in our personal life.

Conflict resolution

Unfortunately there will be conflict as long as long as humans walk the earth. How we handle conflict and ultimately resolve conflict should be a primary concern. Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing and can be the genesis of new thoughts and ideas. Conflict between individuals or groups that becomes destructive must be addressed immediately. Addressing conflict does not mean avoidance as this only puts the problem off for a later time and generally heightens the resentment between parties. The leader’s task is to find a resolution to the conflict that results in both parties being treated equitably. Both sides will have to make concessions; however, if the resolution is viewed as fair the resolution will stand the test of time.


Sometimes we get confused between aggressive and assertive behavior. A good leader acts in an assertive manner by respectfully stating his needs or the needs of the group. The assertive individual is also very willing to say no if appropriate. When everyone in an organization is assertive they are empowered to respectfully state their position. This type of environment discourages complacency and passive behavior. In the aviation maintenance business taking an assertive posture is a key safety factor and a critical element in preventing accidents.  

I have touched on only a few of the numerous interpersonal tools that we need to employ for a pleasant and successful career. Utilize good interpersonal skills with the same regularity and efficiency as our technical tools. A good technician always maintains his tools in top-notch condition and treating our professional skill tools in the same manner is a winning combination.

John Rahilly has more than 37 years of aviation service experience. Based in North Carolina, he can be reached at


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