Following on from our article from last month, Step Thirteen – Managing Conflict as Cabin Crew, this month we’re focusing on how to deal with relationships with your fellow crew-members.
As Cabin Crew, you’ll work with a wide range of colleagues, and on the majority of flights will find yourself working with a different set of crew, and people who you might not have met before.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that sooner or later you’ll come across someone who you don’t quite gel with. This is perfectly OK! However, despite your feelings, you have to learn to stay professional, and push personal opinions to the side for the duration of your flight.
The importance of communication
Your main purpose as crew is to ensure the safety of your passengers during their flight. To do this you need to work together as a team, and ensure good communication at all times – otherwise things can escalate quickly and badly in an emergency.
Some people are naturally more abrasive to work with than others. However, this is not the time to take it personally, and react in kind to their behaviour. It’s hard, but unless their behaviour is unacceptably rude or aggressive towards you, or it is jeopardising the safety of the flight, then stay calm, and remain civil.
This is often more difficult than it sounds! But try not to let your agitation get the upper hand.
Again, remember as Cabin Crew that you’re the ‘face’ of the airline – and it’s part of your responsibilities to remain professional at all times, whether you’re dealing with customers or colleagues.
Dealing with difficult colleagues
While it’s important to get on with your duties on the flight, and make sure procedure is followed, you can still assess the situation with an awkward team member, and bring to the attention of the senior crew member or intervene if:
- Your colleague is doing something that is against protocol.
- Your colleague is refusing to carry out their assigned duties.
- Your colleague is being abusive, unprofessional or using inappropriate or offensive language.
- Your colleague is acting against the diversity commitment of your airline.
If you feel like you are being bullied or discriminated against yourself, this is NOT acceptable.
You are within your rights to calmly, discreetly and professionally talk to your colleague about the situation if you feel it will help. However, if it could cause issues or disruption whilst in the air it may be better to talk to a senior crew member or someone with more experience.
Sometimes a situation with a colleague may not affect the quality of service on the flight, but may make you feel anxious or irritated.
Maybe you feel like you’re being left out as the rest of the crew have worked together before. Or that a more experienced crew-member is talking down to you.
It’s difficult, particularly when you’re just starting out in your Cabin Crew career. But rise above it – for every person you work with you that you don’t get along with you’ll meet many that you will!
A fellow member of crew might seem to be in a bad mood, and not very forthcoming, but remember it’s most likely nothing to do with you – some people are able to hide their emotions better than others when they’re dealing with difficulties in their personal lives.
We all want to be liked and to be popular. But you simply won’t get on swimmingly with every single person you meet – that’s life! Just stay calm, speak in a friendly, polite tone and don’t take it personally.
You may not be the only one on the flight that day finding a particular crew member difficult! Sometimes in a team situation you find yourself with a co-worker who just doesn’t seem to want to pull their weight!
When a team member doesn’t do their share, or displays a bad attitude, there’s a risk this can drag down the morale and productivity of the rest of the team, leading to poor team efficiency, lower levels of commitment, and less focus.
In these cases ignoring the issue can make things worse, as other members of the team get increasingly frustrated.
It’s important to consider the roots of the person’s behaviour. It could be that they are dealing with a stressful situation at home that is leading to distraction, or maybe feeling work pressures that you’re unaware of. It could even be that they lack confidence and they’re not sure how to best contribute!
This is why things can get worse when team members just shun someone who isn’t carrying their weight. So take the lead, and make sure you’re not ostracizing them – try to connect and find out what’s wrong before jumping to conclusions.
This way, you first try to find out whether there is any confusion with your unwilling colleague, and then help clarify duties so they have a better understanding of what’s expected of them.
Dealing with a wide variety of colleagues is something you’ll have to get used to in a Cabin Crew role. And if you think back to your previous experiences in education or employment, there will surely be examples of people you’ve had to work with that you haven’t necessarily hit it off with!
If you’re a person who likes to be friendly with everyone, and dislikes bad feeling or conflict then this can be really difficult. But like we discussed last month, treat it as an experience to learn from, and to use to build your character!
The crew members you do get along with will likely end up being your close friends – and there’s nothing better than having time to explore a new city on layover with your crew-buddies!
Join us next time as we share what to do (and what not to do) to make the most of your layovers.
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