The course, entitled Front Line Management: Supervisors’ Training, was conducted by Michael Jelliffe and was run for five days in May.
The theme of the course was “Managing Ourselves, Managing Our Team”. This theme is very appropriate because, as senior personnel entrusted with the solemn responsibility of managing other co-workers, we must better manage ourselves to hold us in good stead to effectively manage the team under our leadership. The main topics covered by this course were MAF’s Purpose, Vision & Values; Manager, Supervisor & Leadership Dynamics; Job Description-Performance Standards, Performance Gaps & Performance Counselling; Management Tools-Delegation & Supervision; Communication & Conflict Resolution.
Daily devotions were also part of this course and the first day’s message came as a question: Is God a manager? Genesis 1:26 was the main scripture reference. It was a thought-provoking question to start off our training and set the tone for the five-day training. The answer was yes, God is a manager which was supported by five attributes of a manager, as highlighted below (Gen.1:1-2:2);
- Resourcefulness/Creativity: God created something from nothing.
- Relational: God, the Father was relational at creation by also involving God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
- Responsibility, Delegation & Empowerment: Man was delegated with the responsibility and empowered to be ruler over His creation.
- Provide Resources: God provided the resources for man to use.
- Rest: God rested from His work, signifying rest for us as well.
The target group for this training was staff who are managers and supervisors and others at Senior Traffic Officer and Traffic Officer level who have the potential to progress up to Base Manager level in due time. The course gave the attendees the opportunity to enhance their skills base to draw from to help them in their work.
It is hoped that the new skills learnt through this course will help these staff to be more efficient and effective in their various roles to positively impact on MAF’s operations.
The most challenging of the units was the one on Conflict Resolution. Mike told us about the Indian Talking Stick. It is a carved wooden stick that American Indians use as a very effective tool for solving conflicts. The principle works like this: when you (as the one who has the issue/problem to be dealt with) hold this Talking Stick, it is your time to speak and I can only listen and can’t speak unless I have a question to ask for clarity on what you are saying. And when you finish, I get to hold the said stick and I now do the talking and you do the listening except when you have a question ask. This exchange goes on like that until you (as the one who has the issue/problem to be dealt with in the first place) are satisfied with the outcome.
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