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The power of a bottle of water



I’ve just got back to the hotel after a long day flying down to a beautiful island in the South of Greece. It was lovely after so long to have a full aeroplane of passengers going away to enjoy some time in the sun. A full aeroplane means lots of bags. Two and a half tonnes of them to be precise.


If you’ve ever watched to see your bag getting loaded or unloaded, it happens in one of two ways. Either the bags get packed in a big silver container and a fork-lift lifts it into the aeroplane, or, in the case of our aeroplane loaded one by one by hand into the hold of the aeroplane by our baggage handlers. In 28 degree heat. All two and a half tonnes of them.


We can generally get the aircraft turned around in around about half an hour. We need those baggage handlers to shift those bags pretty quickly.


As a Captain, and a leader, one of the first things I try to do after our passengers disembark is go downstairs and take the baggage handlers a couple of cold bottles of water and encourage them to take a moment to have a drink and a breather. If this takes a minute or two, so be it.


To me this is about far more than a bottle of water. It’s a small gesture that says I recognise the efforts of the baggage handlers. I appreciate just how hard they are working to turn our aeroplane around. It’s important that they see that this airline Captain isn’t too important or too busy to come down and see them and offer them a small, but welcome gift. They’re part of OUR team, as important a cog in the wheel as the rest of us.


Lastly I guarantee that after that welcome break and drink of water we actually overall get our bags loaded just as quickly, and with a little bit more motivation, than the aeroplane parked next to us. If we subsequently need a bag offloading due to a missing passenger, those baggage handlers might just have that little bit more willingness to do it that little bit quicker for us, due to the small gesture made thirty minutes ago.


Bringing everyone together into one team is a key skill for a leader. Our Leadership and Teamwork module explains how as a leader it is important to build collective goals, and create shared responsibilty throughout a team which will ultimately drive our safety, efficiency and performance.


Get in touch today to learn how we can share skills from aviation that enhance safety, efficiency, and performance in your business.


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