An Emphasis on Education

At services Expo, line service supervisor training, safety are center stage

Las Vegas — At this year’s Aviation Industry Expo, line service professionals from across the nation attended the National Air Transportation Association’s Line Service Supervisor Training (LSST) seminar, where attendees learned effective management techniques coupled with technical fuel operations, safety training, and customer service. This year’s Expo attracted some 3,500 participants, at a reformulated event that emphasized education and training as its centerpiece.

According to Cygnus Expositions, operator of the show, nearly 350 companies exhibited to professionals in the ground support, aircraft maintenance, and fixed base operator segments. Two new features, the Green Pavilion and ‘Demos on Demand’, will be expanded for the 2010 event, scheduled for March 16-18 in Las Vegas.

The Line Service Supervisor Training (LSST) seminar, part of the National Air Transportation Association’s (NATA) series of educational seminars and workshops, drew an attendance of some 40 line operation professionals. Participants included line operation supervisors and managers, line service technicians, and ramp personnel.

The two-day course features topics from fuel production, filtration, and distribution to effective techniques for motivating and managing employees.

Adam Coulby, manager of education and training for NATA, says that all attendees satisfied the FAA approved 14CFR Section 139 Fire Safety Training requirements. According to Coulby, NATA is the first aviation association to incorporate cutting edge technology into training seminars, such as live chroma-key video training.

Says Coulby, “My vision for future LSST seminars includes adding virtual 3-D training and improvisational training elements.

“I picture bringing the entire seminar to life with multiple projectors. I not only want attendees to hear and see what instructors have to say, I want them to experience it on a level they never thought possible and will never forget. Adding improvisational elements would not only be interactive and fun, it would customize the training exactly to the needs of those in attendance.”

Lessons in management
First on the agenda was the attendee self assessment, an exercise meant to provide insight into individual management styles in an effort to discover how a particular style affects employees.

“The assessment measures whether you are more concerned with people or production,” says Mario Martinez, senior curriculum development analyst and facilitator for ServiceElements.

Personality, values, relationships, expectations, degree of pressure, and the level of your employees are just a few of the factors which affect style as a supervisor or manager. These factors determine which of five types of management style categories most people fall into, says Martinez. The five style categories are: hard, soft, middle-of-the-road, ineffective, and team builder.

The hard style, explains Martinez, is authoritarian and autocratic. Production is more important than people and everything is done by the book, making the hard managerial style very militant-like, yet most effective in emergency situations.

A soft style manager puts people before production, and is permissive and democratic. Both hard and soft style supervisors expect less of subordinates than they are capable of, relates Martinez. Thus, both styles can end up doing much of the work themselves.

The middle-of-the-road manager is a compromiser and a politician. He/she will push for productivity until employees crack and then reconcile with them, explains Martinez. The compromising supervisor tries to get employees to think for themselves, yet can come across as insincere or manipulative.

The ineffective style of manager is abdicating and impersonal, yet pays a high attention to detail. This manager is reactive instead of proactive, avoiding risk at all costs and always maintaining a low profile.

The most effective style of leadership is the team builder, says Martinez. The team builder is a coach and integrator who shows maximum concern for both people and production.

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