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Training leadership skills

Leadership skills training courses have been specifically developed for first-line managers in the UK by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), and courses typically include modules on leadership and team-building, communication, planning change, managing stress and problem-solving. Self-report questionnaires are often used in training to gauge the leader’s perception of their style, for example the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire by Bass and Avolio (1991) (see Mindgarden website) measures transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership. This can also be given to team members or peers to rate the leader’s style.

Team leaders, and team members, should also be encouraged to seek out, engage in and craft their own experiences to develop more effective skills and knowledge for adaptive performance and overall team effectiveness (Salas et al., 2004). Team leaders drive team performance and effectiveness by communicating a clear direction, creating an enabling performance environment and providing process coaching, as well as training and developing team members’ individual and team- level competencies (Hackman and Walton, 1986; Kozlowski et al., 1996).

In aviation, some CRM courses include a section on ‘management, supervision and leadership’. This relates to developing leadership skills for appropriate personnel and would include aspects such as delegation, prioritisation of tasks and leadership styles - use of authority or assertiveness (CAA, 2004). Pilots also have to undertake specific training in command skills as part of their development to be promoted to captain.

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