As Babe Ruth, the US baseball player once said, ‘The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.’
Effective teamwork is critical in high-risk industries such as aviation. Successful teamwork occurs when every member of a team—on the ground and in the air—performs and contributes in the best way possible to achieve a common goal. Individual performances are not the primary focus—it is the collective performance of the team which matters the most. An effective team manager recognises that individuals have different strengths and limitations, but ensures, through communication, programs and culture, that the individuals work together in a coordinated manner to achieve team goals. Teamwork can have a major impact on successful operational risk and safety management.
Peter Gash, Chief Pilot at Seair Pacific says, ‘The world is so full of examples of teamwork. Look at the cave example in Thailand with the Wild Boars. That was not a one-man operation to get those people out. It was teamwork. De Crespigny with the A380, that was teamwork that go those people back safely. Sully in the Hudson River—that was teamwork you know?’
Teamwork is the fifth booklet in the revised Safety behaviours: human factors for pilots’ kit. The booklet examines the characteristics of high-performance teams such as mutal trust, clear goals, effective leadership, and defined roles and responsibilities. It tells the story of a wheels-up landing involving a Beech 58 where the solo pilot uses effective teamwork to land his aircraft safely; it examines the double engine failure of Captain Sullenberger on the Hudson River; and also looks at a remarkable story of how the Williams Formula One racing team applied its procedures to improving outcomes at a neonatal resuscitation unit in Wales.
The booklet offers tips for effective teamwork in both single-pilot and multi-crew operations. Safety behaviours: human factors for pilots’ kit is out now for free on the CASA website, or can be ordered in print and on USB from the CASA Online Store.