Team Resource Management

Team Resource Management

40TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Geneva, Switzerland, 19-23 March 2001

WP No. 171

Team Resource Management

Introduction

It was recommended at last year’s conference to put ANACNA’s working paper on Team Resource Management (TRM) on the working agenda of SC4.

While Crew Resource Management training is a reality for most of the operators, TRM training for ATCOs is not yet a universally established practice.

Incidents and accidents in which inadequate teamwork has been considered to be a factor, lead to the necessity to pay more attention to this particular field. Consequently the adoption of the wording ‘Team Resource Management’ has been introduced to highlight the importance of an efficient teamwork to the safe provision of ATS.

Reference material has been found within EATCHIP (now EATMP). Both the released issue ‘Guidelines for Developing and Implementing Team Resource Management’ (HUM.ET.ST10.1000-GUI-01) and the ‘Proceedings of the Second EUROCONTROL Human Factors Workshop – Teamwork in Air Traffic Services’ (HUM.ET1.ST13.000-REP-02) have been considered within this working paper.

Discussion

ANACNA proposed the following considerations as possible IFATCA position on TRM related issues:

  • Teamwork aptitude shall be investigated during ATCO selection.
  • Basic TRM concepts shall be included in basic ATC courses.
  • Teamwork attitude shall be enhanced by means of appropriate training courses.

Why TRM

Crew Resource Management (CRM) on the flight deck gained much of its impetus from the fact that there had been a number of serious incidents and accidents in which poor communication, crew performance and inadequate behaviour were seen as significant contributory, if not causal, factors. There is a growing body of evidence which illustrates similar problems within ATM. This points to the need to complement the improvements made in the air, via CRM, with better team functioning within ATM. The point has been made elsewhere that “It is somewhat surprising that ‘Controller Resource Management’ did not develop in conjunction with Cockpit Resource Management” (Helmreich et al., 1993). Although a great deal of effort and expertise is devoted to training individuals in the technical skills necessary for the ATM task, little, if anything, has been done to train these individuals to function as team members. Incidents and accidents in which inadequate team work has been shown to be a factor indicate that much more attention needs to be focussed on this vital area and the adoption of the title “Team Resource Management” is intended to reflect the importance of the team in the safe and efficient conduct of ATM. “Now is the time to apply the same emphasis and standards to teamwork skills that we currently apply primarily to technical skills” (Biegalski, 1995).


TRM Benefits

In summary, the main benefits of TRM are considered to be:

  • reduced teamwork related incidents;
  • enhanced task efficiency;
  • improved use of staff resources;
  • enhanced continuity and stability of team work in ATM;
  • enhanced sense of working as a part of a larger and more efficient team; increased job satisfaction.

Aims of TRM

To enable operational staff to develop an effective ATM team concept TRM should deal with the following subjects:

  • Situational Awareness: symptoms of loss of situational awareness and factors that can have a positive or negative influence on awareness;
  • Decision Making: basic principles of individual and group decision making processes;
  • Communication: improve communication within teams and their effect on safety;
  • Teamwork: effects of shared mental models and strategies to develop common understanding of typical situations that may influence efficient teamwork;
  • Leadership: leadership, authority and assertiveness and their positive or negative effects on teamwork depending on how it is used or misused;
  • Stress Management: effects of stress within ATM and the skills to cope with stress related problems within teams.

TRM Regulation

TRM training should comprise three phases, an introductory/awareness phase, a practical phase and a refresher/reinforcement phase. TRM should be mandatory elements in the selection, training and licensing of operational staff. The selection process should assess personality traits most appropriate for work in a team environment. These general aptitudes should be considered of the utmost importance to facilitate the later acquisition of the appropriate attitudes and behaviour in teams. Appropriate attitudes cannot be acquired with a single training action. It is essential to ensure the insertion of TRM training in the general training plan.

Two different populations have to be considered: experienced operational staff and Ab Initio trainees. For the first groups a training plan has to be designed to ensure that all will benefit. For Ab Initio trainees, human factors issues should be part of basic and advanced training and TRM should therefore be integrated in the global training plan. This is taken into account in the Eurocontrol harmonised common core content of training for air traffic controllers. Wherever applicable TRM training should be a mandatory part of licensing.


TRM Implementation

The awareness phase should be used to inform management, operational staff and incident investigators by using professional and understandable TRM information material.

The preparation phase should run in conjunction with the awareness phase and should cover the selection of target population, course designers, material and instructors, and the design of a TRM project plan.

In the development phase objectives, details, content and methods for the prototype training course should be defined and agreed, and the training material should be developed.

This should not replace any other form of continuation training.

Conclusions

The aims and benefits of well-developed TRM courses are becoming more and more accepted.

The selection process should assess personality traits most appropriate for work in a team environment.

For Ab Initio trainees, human factors issues should be part of basic and advanced training.

The integration of TRM as a part of the continuation training for ATCOs is considered beneficial.

TRM training should however not replace any other form of continuation training.

Recommendations

Insert in the IFATCA manual p. 4311 para 1.2.9 new paragraph:

‘Team Resource Management as a concept should be considered in the selection of ATCOs.’

Insert in the IFATCA manual p. 4321 para 2.1.3 new paragraph:

‘Team Resource Management as a concept should be considered in the basic training of ATCOs.’

Insert in the IFATCA manual p. 4351 para 5.2.3 new paragraph:

‘Team Resource Management as a concept should be considered in the continuation training of ATCOs.’

References

IFATCA Manual.

EATMP: Reference material has been found within EATCHIP (now EATMP). Both the released issue ‘Guidelines for Developing and Implementing Team Resource Management’ (HUM.ET.ST10.1000-GUI-01) and the ‘Proceedings of the Second EUROCONTROL Human Factors Workshop – Teamwork in Air Traffic Services’ (HUM.ET1.ST13.000-REP-02) have been considered within this working paper.

Last Update: September 29, 2020  

March 12, 2020   283   Jean-Francois Lepage    2001    

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