Each day, approximately 50,000 aircraft move through the US National Airspace System. Air traffic controllers rely on heavily on procedures to guide aircraft from one point to another. Here’s a snapshot in time of about 5,000 aircraft flying through the air.
If you’ve never seen that before, it can be kind of scary looking. Don’t worry, there’s a LOT of team work involved to move each aircraft from Point A to Point B.
I’ve been an air traffic controller and a community manager. I’ve come to the conclusion that community managers are a lot like air traffic controllers. They juggle priorities, make procedural and strategic adjustments and communicate with hundreds of people per day.
Much is made about the stress of both air traffic controllers and community managers, but it isn’t as hard as it looks. It does take work, training, teamwork and dedication. Here is a brief list of some lessons I learned as an air traffic controller that I use as a community manager:
• Listen to what’s being said, not what you expect to hear.
• If what you’ve planned isn’t working, change your plan.
• Ask for help when you need it.
• Be open to new ideas and perspectives.
• Stay up to date in guideline changes.
• If you’re not sure that your message is clear, ask to “hear” it back.
• Keep good and accurate records.
• Communicate, communicate, communicate. Did I mention that communication is important?
In future blog posts, I will address each of these competencies in more detail. Stay Tuned!