I have no idea what approach the new leadership at BA are taking, I’m not in that line of work. I was not suggesting ‘imposing’ management. I believe that the root problem exists because a number of the current on board supervisors – I believe BA refer to them as cabin service directors – are simply not up to the job of managing their teams.
If you look throught this and other forums, many will state that BA has a good on board product, but the service delivery is patchy. The first line responsibility for ensuring consistency in service delivery rests with the on board supervisor. I would suggest that rather than provide the correct formative feedback, many seem to prefer to ‘go native’ and align themselves with the people they are charged with managing. It avoids confronting the problem and after all, they may not see the same batch of crew for an awful long time. The snag is that the problem doesn’t go away, it merely becomes somebody else’s concern. A bit like pass the parcel, when the content is something rather unpleasant. If the supervisors were subject to more stringent performance management, the underperfomers would be reduced. Moreover, the performance of those they are managing would be enhanced. Result, a more consistent service delivery. I see the removal of one crew member on board in November 2009 as an opportunity for the cabin service directors to a) get a lot closer to their teams and as a result put them in a better place to provide coaching and feedback b) empower them to make more valid assessments of ways to improve the product, or provide decent feedback on issues on the product or ways in which it is being delivered. For example, I have read that some cabin crew feel that the current CW meal service is overly labour intensive.
There is probably something in the relationship between cabin service directors and their immediate line managers that also needs addressing, Good performance breeds good performance. It’s very much a top down thing. Problems can and do occur when one tier of management is unable to see how the tier below the one that they are managing are performing.