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Support Networks: Building Camaraderie with Fellow Crew Members

As flight attendants, we spend the majority of our time away from home, friends, and family. This can lead to feelings of isolation if we do not find community among our fellow crew members.

However, developing strong support networks with other flight attendants can help buffer work stresses and enhance job satisfaction (Scott & Barnes, 2011). Here are some tips for building camaraderie with your crew.

Eat meals together when possible. Sharing meals is a great way to get to know colleagues on a personal level. During layovers, suggest group meals in hotel restaurants, explore local cafes together, or prepare a home-cooked meal and invite others. Mealtimes provide an opportunity for bonding outside of work responsibilities (Chen et al., 2018).

Travel together between flights. Whenever schedules align, offer to share a cab or shuttle ride with crew going to the same airport. Brief car rides give a chance to chat casually without work distractions (Karlsen & Bru, 2002). The company makes travel transitions more enjoyable.

Plan regular crew outings. Organize monthly or quarterly get-togethers for dinner, drinks, or activities outside of work. Suggest low-key plans like meeting at a local park, exploring a new restaurant, or hosting a games night. Consistent socializing fosters permanent friendships within the work group (Thomas et al., 2018).

Be a good listener. Make yourself available to lend an ear if crew members need to vent or problem-solve work issues. Active listening shows you care about colleagues' well-being and helps relieve their stresses. However, maintain appropriate boundaries so they do not come to over-rely on you (Jones et al., 2013).

Offer support during difficult times. When crew go through hardships like illness, injury, divorce or other personal crises, demonstrate care through acts of service. Bring a meal, offer to help with errands or tasks, or just check in with a phone call. Knowing the crew has one another's backs in tough times strengthens bonds of trust (Scott & Myers, 2005).

Keep an eye out for signs of burnout. As stress accumulates over time, be aware of changing attitudes or behaviors in colleagues that may signal burnout approaching. Offer an empathetic ear without judgment. In extreme cases, help connect them to employer counseling resources. Showing concern for one anothers' well-being promotes longevity in the career (Scott et al., 2020).

By proactively building community among crew members through regular social interaction and mutual support, flight attendants can experience greater job satisfaction along with protection from work stresses. Strong peer relationships made possible through camaraderie help compensate for time spent away from family (Scott & Myers, 2010). Overall crew cohesion and morale improve when attendants look out for one another.

References

Chen, Y., Lei, X., Li, D., Huang, Y., & Mu, L. (2018). Eating together for better mental health during college years: A mixed-method study. Journal of American College Health, 68(4), 330–338. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2018.1515757

Jones, K. R., Bott, E., & Fletcher, J. K. (2013). How listen matters: The impact of listening style on workplace relationships. The International Journal of Listening, 26(3), 134-148. https://doi.org/10.1080/10904018.2012.702127

Karlsen, B., & Bru, E. (2002). Relations between perceived social support and emotional exhaustion: A study of occupational differences. Work & stress, 16(3), 227-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/02678370210164078

Scott, J. L., & Barnes, C. M. (2011). A multilevel field investigation of work-family interference, affective commitment, and turnover intentions. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16(3), 279–300. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022161

Scott, J. L., & Myers, K. K. (2005). The socialization of emotion: Learning emotion management at the firehouse. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 33(1), 67-92. https://doi.org/10.1080/0090988042000318521

Scott, J. L., & Myers, K. K. (2010). Toward an integrative theoretical perspective on organizational membership negotiations: Socialization, assimilation, and the dynamics of theory-workplace context matchings. Communication Theory, 20(1), 79-101. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2009.01340.x

Scott, W. G., Ghee, W. Y. E., & Hostick, T. T. (2020). Reducing burnout through frontline leader emotional awareness training. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2-4.

Thomas, S. J., Ditzfeld, C. P., & Showers, C. J. (2018). Long-term effects of social support on stress reactivity: Does type of support matter? International Journal of Stress Management, 25(1), 77–91. https://doi.org/10.1037/str0000045

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