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Aviation has its risks which range from activities related to aviation, aircraft operation, education training among others. Air safety must take center stage in any airline or aviation company. Air safety involves managing all the risks that are related to aviation, and it is ensuring that they are managed, controlled and eliminated altogether. Air safety can be done by educating the stakeholder, training them and also placing regulations in the aviation industry to curb risks and incidences. On the other hand, airworthiness means that all the legal and the state of the aircraft are meeting all the requirements analysis in terms of the design and ability to operate safely. Airworthiness and Air safety have a direct connection, they both ensure that aviation is safe and the number of incidents, accidents, and threats is wholly neutralized and managed. Therefore, leadership in the aviation industry plays a critical role in ensuring that air safety and airworthiness is maintained. The purpose of this essay is to explain the role of leadership in ensuring safety and airworthiness in the aviation industry. Also, it will analyze the incidences and accidences that have been caused by a lack of good leadership in the aviation industry.
Role/Importance of Leadership in Safety and Airworthiness
With almost every company in the aviation industry giving safety high priority, leadership has now come under a microscope. Organizations are looking for leaders in the aviation industry who not only can bring the company the desired gains but also offer the leadership that will ensure safety and airworthiness in the industry. According to Gibb and Olson, (2008), a leader in aviation must possess both values, attitudes, qualities/attributes and actions that are relevant. Besides that, the leader must have the right education and training that will enable him/her to be able to deal with all issues arising in the aviation industry.
Leaders Promote Organizational Culture
Every company has a culture, and there are values and norms that make the company or the organization work and function as it should. The mastermind behind the working and effective operation of the culture is the leader of the company. The aviation industry has many organizations operating under it for different goals and objectives. Each leader in this organization plays an important role when it comes to the safety and airworthiness (Purton and Kourousis, 2014). As given in the example in the text, there are principles that organizations stick to when it comes to aviation and all that entails aviation. They can stick by those principles that guarantee the safety and airworthiness both in principle and in the actual sense (Kim and Choi, 2016). To this effect, the culture of the company is the guide that the leader used to guide and lead his team in ensuring that there is safety and the aircraft is airworthy.
Leaders who lead by examples have the high chance of inspiring their followers to do the same. Leaders play a role in enforcing the company culture, in most aviation companies, safety and accountability are essential; therefore leaders must ensure that all protocols that the company has put in place are adhered to by all employees (Purton and Kourousis, 2014). They can be able to achieve this by setting checks and balances and ensuring that all workers including them are complying with those regulations. By being accountable, they also make it easy for the rest of the employees to be responsible and answerable for their actions. A leader must be able to make men and women in the company walk on the same path as he/she is in ensuring all principles are followed, and nothing is neglected.
Leadership and Communication
Most of the aircraft accidents that have been reported have been as a result of poor communication by one of the two parties, the pilots and those in the control room. There is a typical example of poor managerial communication as seen in Erebus DC-10, this involves flight 901 crash where the pilots were not notified of the changes that were made about the flight paths change (Lauren, 2018). The end result of that accident was that all the 253 passengers on board perished. One of the qualities of a good leader includes the ability to communicate, pass information accurately in a way the other person can understand and interpret it in the way that was intended. When communication fails in the aviation industry or one party fails in the managerial communication, the end result is predictable and the fatalities are unavoidable.
When leaders learn the art of proper communication in giving direction then the cases of accidents of aircrafts will be managed. The pilot of the plane is the leader and he must learn to share vital information with the crew. There have been cases where it has been recorded that leaders and the workers of the airline companies and aviation have shown each other seniority and authority which has led to poor and no communication to some extent (Liao, 2015). A good example of this kind of struggle can happen between the pilot and the captain, when there is the battle of who is in control or has seniority, the channels of communication suddenly shut down risking the aircraft and the lives of the passengers. Leaders must learn to iron out their differences and improve in communication especially in the higher levels where both have seniority and power. In the case of the pilot and the captain, the two must communicate effectively to ensure the safety of the passengers and the crew. An example of an accident that was caused by poor communication by the leadership is the Cessna 402 flight in Coventry (BBC, 2012).
Leadership and Planning
Poor fight planning is one of the few causes of aircraft accidents, and most of the burden of blame is often placed on the crew. However, the business of flight planning is purely a managerial issue that must be addressed with the seriousness it deserves. When making a flight plan the leader must look and consider several important factors without overlooking any minor detail. It is the responsibility of the leadership in ensuring that the crew that has been assigned a specific talk is adequately trained and experienced. They must have sufficient crew training before they are given the plane. The leaders are also responsible for ensuring there is the proper scheduling of the staff within their company and in the aviation company (Gibb and Olson, 2008). Giving schedules to the pilots and captains enables them to know when they are supposed to work, having such knowledge prepares them both physically and psychologically. The leader also is supposed to ensure that when the pilots and captains come to work, they examined adequately for fitness to ensure that none is going to work under pressure or with physical conditions like fatigue.
Additionally, a leader should make a flight plan that includes giving the captain and the pilot a flight route they have experience with before (Ibrahim and Pyster, 2004). Most managerial leaders hire captains and pilots who have considerable experience in the industry and assign to them routes that are longer than they are used to, and that contributes to accidents. Besides that, the leadership must ensure that all procedures of inspection and safety check are adhered to before any plane is released to carry passengers or cargo (Reason, 2016). A leader must ensure that the technical team and the engineer’s reports and findings are well attended to in terms of implementing and considerations (Lynch and Kline, 2000).
Leadership and Decision Making
Every leader in the aviation industry faces hard decisions every day, some of the choices they face are related to safety, airworthiness, success, profitability among others. Every decision made has implications both ethically, financially and most importantly it will affect the quality of service they offer in their company (Tourtier et al., 2012). A good leader in the aviation industry who is dedicated to safety and airworthiness of the aircraft of the company must do all he/she can to ensure that the decisions made are for the greater good of the company and the people at stake. The excellent leadership dictates that the leader looks outside himself/herself by listening to the opinions and the views of the rest of his team and use their views plus his skills to make the best decision. For example, there have been cases where the managers of the company have been instructed and given the advice by the flight engineers regarding the fitness and suitability of a carrier (Bedford, 2017). But on looking at the financial implications and the pressure of the passengers who have waited for a long time, the leader caves into pressure and makes the wrong decision.
There are risks in the aviation industry, and the more experienced the manager and the leader is the better equipped he/she is in making a sound judgment. A good leader should know when to say no and when to say yes. After consulting with the weather experts, a good leader should be able to make a right decision about releasing a plane into bad weather or waiting a little bit longer until the storm passes (Kanki, Helmreich and Anca, 2010). Besides that, there is the issue of ethics in decision making, and a leader must ensure that his team meets the requirements, for example, the pilot regardless of the experience must have had enough rest before being allowed to fly the plane. Qantas has been operational now for many years, and its current CEO has been leading and making sound decisions in the aviation industry by relying on facts and data that is relevant (Joyce, 2013). Decisions in this company have been made to ensure the safety of the passengers and the carrier, punctuality, and efficiency which corresponds with the safety and airworthiness of the aviation industry. Also, the leadership in this airline has been using modern tools and resources to ensure that safety and airworthiness concerns are given priority.
Leadership and Commitment/Motivation of the Stakeholders
There are two aspects of motivation or commitment that make employees comfortable or uncomfortable with their work. Rational commitment/motivation includes the things that are intellectual, reasons that make them remain at work. For example, salary, benefits, vacation, off days among others (Gibb and Olson, 2008). Whereas on the other hand, emotional commitment comes in as a result of feeling that the employees have or show towards their jobs. For example, their interaction with their leaders, the atmosphere of communication in the company, or even the way they feel a leader or another employee treat them. A leader must rally his people behind him through motivation and securing their commitment (Assaf, Al Qudah and Bashayreh, 2016). When the people working for the leader have been motivated by either his style of leadership or the benefits, they will be committed to that leader and will work to support the vision of the organization management (Chen and Chen, 2014). Therefore, for air safety, the leader must ensure that the crew and the engineers on the ground are motivated and all their concerns addressed.
Additionally, there are ways a leader can contribute to motivation and ensuring that his team is working as they should. For example, the leader can give sufficient hours of rest to his team (Helmreich, 2000). Also, those who need training the leader should organize for training to ensure that whatever they are missing is taken care of and they are equipped. Besides that, he should be available to listen to the concerns of the workers and make an effort and willingness to resolving their issues. When the employees in the aviation industry are not motivated, the consequences can be worse (Adjekum, 2017). Their passion for work and commitment to the standards, principles, and procedures can be ignored leading to several cases of intentional or unintentional negligence which is costly.
Leadership and the Training Needs of the Industry
Every now and then there come new ideas and safety tips in the aviation industry. After air crash investigations there is always more knowledge that is acquired which is helpful for the leader and the teams in the aviation industry. Leadership plays a vital role in using the information and findings of the air crash investigations in offering training to their staff (Arnaldo Valdés and Gómez Comendador, 2011). A leader should ensure that whenever there is a new discovery or finding that could improve the safety of the industry, the staff are adequately trained to grasp and understand the development. The reason for this move is to ensure that the crew and the aviation staff are adequately trained and prepared for incidents and accidents even before they occur (Maurino, Reason, Johnston and Lee, 2017). Giving the right information to the stakeholders who are the key to safety in the industry should be the goal of all leaders in aviation. The move can help reduce accidents and incidents by preparing the staff on procedures and methods for handling certain circumstances.
Additionally, the leader must ensure that some workshops and training are conducted regularly within the industry and the company to ensure that the workers are up to date with both the requirements of safety and the regulations in the aviation industry (Boyd, 2016). Training also helps the workers to comply and have the required skills to handle their duties effectively. Besides that, the leader should often evaluate his staff to find out the areas where there are weaknesses and find ways of rectifying those areas in training (Liao, 2015). The challenges and risks that every airline faces today in the aviation industry are changing, and with the new technology and procedures, every company has to ensure that it has kept its workers up to date with the latest training and ideas which will help in reducing cases and incidences in aviation (????????, 2006). The training should be done to both the flight controllers, pilots, cabin crew, maintenance team among others who come into contact with different carriers every day.
Airworthiness and safety are critical in general in the aviation industry. Poor leadership in the aviation industry has been the cause of many accidents and incidences that has caused loss of lives and property. Five factors make the leadership of the aviation industry very significant in ensuring the safety and airworthiness of the carriers. First, they drive the culture of the industry and so must do their work all the time. The leadership has to ensure that it creates the right culture of safety and be on the forefront to show an example to the other employees. Also, they are the success or the failure of communication, and they must ensure communication flows. When good leadership is exercised, the stakeholders get motivated especially the workers within the industry. Additionally, they play a significant role in planning and decision making. They are crucial to making schedules that will make use of the available stuff depending on experience and suitability of the staff. And finally, they ensure that the training and motivation needs of the company are in place. Training and development needs of the aviation company must be addressed to help reduce the incidences and accidences that are preventable.
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