THE SHORT FUSE

Anger management in the workplace and at home is a fundamental component for peace and harmony. Having an explosive nature often clouds the decision-making process. Like a grenade with the pin pulled and the spoon ready to flip, an individual that has a short fuse may regret the damage he or she has inflicted up others and themselves. Once the smoke of the chaos has cleared and calm has reclaimed its ground, the evidence of destruction reveals itself. The uncontrollable shards have cut through the innocent or anyone within the vicinity of the impact zone. Impatience, temper tantrums, emotional outbursts, stubbornness, or just the inability to comprehend can be the match to start a person on a path that will lead him or her into a mine field of problems.

In the workplace a short fuse can be manifested by a co-worker, manager, executive, or customer. In most circumstances, working with a person that is combustible for the smallest infraction or oversight, makes the environment undesirable. Individuals with unsolvable anger issues can be discharged as well as cause others to be unemployed because of their behavior. Managers and employers have lost good talent through their sudden inappropriate outbursts. Therefore, when working conditions have a volatile element, there are steep costs to those companies that allow negative actions. Some repercussions for strong vocal blowups by leadership are a lack of confidence by the workforce, high employee turnovers, poor attitudes, a drop in productivity, diminished quality, and substandard customer service. The ripple effect by one loose cannon can take an extensive amount of time to recover; before returning calm and a sense of job security back into the workforce. Unfortunately, if the owner is the frequent offender, there are very few options left for the worker.

An option when dealing with an unruly employee is to have a well-developed Operations Manual. The detailed guidelines in such an official document not only protects the worker, but management also. It is important that all employees read and acknowledge that they have read the manual. If there is anything that the employee does not understand, it is essential that management explains the section in question. Protocols, scenario, and instructions concerning co-worker confrontations and leadership to employee interaction needs to be clear and concise. If there are addendums or modifications to the manual, all personnel should be notified at the earliest convenience. It is just as important that there is a confirmation the changes have been received. If there are repetitive infractions, discipline and resolution should be quick and decisive, as well as impartial.

Sometimes when a problem escalates from an occasional temper tantrum to consistent negative attacks, a manager may be warranted to dismiss the employee. Discharges can be emotional events and needs to happen in a professional manner, without emotion or additional discussion as not to create disruption and misinterpretation among the rest of the staff. Inform the other workers of the event and give a formal statement to maintain harmony and confidence within the organization. Often, rumors are created by the lack of evidence and employee-employer trust can falter if a dismissal is focused on the individual and not the action.

A company should have a plan of action to counteract situations involving individuals with Short Fuses.

  1. Assess the incident. Do not overreact. Some anger has nothing to do with work or the other employees. Home life can contribute emotional outbursts by good employees. Have a discussion to discover the root of the problem or solution resolve the assurance.
  2. Verbal reprimand. Confront an issue before it escalates into an infraction.
  3. Written reprimand. Help the employee understand the limits and bounds of his or her actions. Review the operations manual with the employee to assure his or her that the reprimand is not out of prejudice but of concern for them, as they are a valued contributor to the company. Give him or her the ability to make a written statement on their behalf.
  4. Dismissal. This is a last resort and an unfortunate action, but it is a manager’s mandate to provide a safe and productive environment for all its employees.

Everyone has limits to their emotional capacity to handle stress in the workplace and at home. Learning to manage one’s own feelings is a sign of professionalism and maturity. If anger is the first place the mind goes to in order to cope with stress, it would be prudent to seek professional council or medical help, before an unfortunate circumstance takes place.

b!~more means having the ability to do self-diagnostics one’s emotional intelligence and receive education to improve your quality of life, then help others improve theirs.

SLAG IN TEAMS

There is a residual material that appears when welding; it is called slag by those of the trade. This waste matter is a combination of oxidized metals and silicon dioxide that usually rises to the top of a molten vat of liquid as part of the purifying process of different types of ores, such as iron, copper, nickel, and lead.

In the case of welding, slag is a byproduct that occurs as flux is used to bind to pieces of metal together. Within the process of merging the two metal (iron in this scenario) plates, a pool of molten materials manifests. As the pool cools, there is a deposit, the bead, which is the bond itself, and the other material is the slag.

On completion of the bond, the slag is either chipped or ground away to reveal the shiny bead. At this point, because it is a blend of the two plates, the bead is stronger than the plates. The original plates, when placed under pressure, will falter, crack, and break before the welded area. It is the extreme heat and removal of impurities that creates this strength.

The creation of a strong partnership and team requires each member to remove their own slag to make the team bond stronger. It is important that every person brings their best abilities, which are talents unknown to the group. To achieve the ultimate results in a project, it is important to recognize what is slag and what is an attribute that can produce the best outcome. As you consider the negative connotations connected with ego, pride, or being nit-picky and opinionated, you might be surprised that these traits can be attributes that help the team, if utilized correctly.

Having an “ego” is often in reference to a person that is full of self-importance and therefore detrimental to a team because of their inability to see their own weaknesses. Yet, for a team to function, the participants need to be able to have a positive ego and believe they are capable of their talent. Knowing that you are qualified and able to accomplish a task with great success because of past experiences is important to the team so that they can envision possibilities.

Pride is sometimes confused with ego as well as taken as a negative implication associated with a person’s personality. It is true that an individual’s lack of humility can tarnish the team’s enthusiasm for a project. Yet, pride in doing the best work possible is an essential component in performing an assignment. As each person takes satisfaction in performing at their peak capacity, the team and project reflect the efficiency of the group.

Being “nit-picky” may frustrate team members if it prolongs an assignment. However, having an eye for detail in aviation is very important because it leads directly to safety. Intense quality control saves lives. In some situations, a checklist isn’t enough. Whatever the project or assignment, in-depth inspections are a vital part of the process.

Opinionated people can be burdensome, but they are better than a person who does not have the confidence to speak their mind to benefit the work that has to be done. Life experiences, education, and wisdom are crucial to the investigation of new ideas and invention of cutting-edge concepts. These assets can save time and money as synchronicity takes place among the team.

If an excess of any attribute manifests, it’s advisable to chip away at the slag to remove the impurities, maintaining the “iron” of the team. Just remember not to grind too deep, which could weaken the integrity of the individual or team, thereby destroying the project or assignment.

Removing detrimental slag with the goal of refinement in mind is part of being more in your life.

Aircraft Mechanics and Instructors

This short is a tribute to the many aviation instructors that I work with at GLOBALJET Services. Each trainer has been an aircraft mechanic; now they impart their years of experience and wisdom to the next generation, in hopes of helping them become better technicians.

God, I Love to Make Them Fly

cb overdorf

In the Aviation Community there is a large body of individuals that are extremely enamored with empowering tubes of metal and plastic with the ability to break gravity so that they can soar through the heavens. These talented people, dedicated to the concept of flight, have hundreds of lives placed in their capable hands every hour of everyday of the year. As each passenger embarks on an aircraft, the weight of their life and limb, falls squarely upon his or her shoulders. No, I am not speaking about the myriad of pilots, nor flight attendants; it is the proverbial masters of flight behind the curtain that I refer to -the mechanics of aviation.

It is true that pilots are responsible for the lives that they transport, but it is the mechanics that are accountable for the pilot’s life and comfort, as well as the entire flight crew and the passengers. For each flight crew, there are teams of highly qualified personnel that are assigned to keep that same plane airworthy and operational for scheduled or unscheduled flights. These contingents consist of technicians, engineers, and specialists which outnumber the groups that operate the aircraft. The average flight crew has a pilot, co-pilot, and occasionally a flight attendant for the convenience of passengers, but a maintenance team of a standard corporate flight department, in comparison, has an array of technical support with the same mandate to protect life, limb, and property.

Often, in European and Asian countries, a spontaneous outbreak of applause echoes through the passenger cabin once the pilot has safely touched-down on the runway. These accolades can be equated to theater, when the actors appear from behind the curtain to take their well-earned bows for a performance that is well done. Comparatively, the theatrical tech crew containing lighting, sound, and stage hands remain in the dark, out of sight of the audience yet in ear shot to know that their work has not gone unnoticed. Unfortunately, the mechanic does not get to hear the appreciation from its benefactors, for the dedication to their craft which kept the metal tube aloft. Usually such gratitude falls silent upon the tarmac once the occupants have disembarked. Only in the fortitude of long hours and a moderate salary the mechanic must find contentment of his own integrity; that he has accomplished his job. It is when her wheels are up, and she disappears into the clouds, he smiles. Then, he turns and says quietly before going on to troubleshoot another problem, “God, I love to make them fly.” 

The Value of a Mentor in Aviation

An old dusty violin is being auctioned. It sits at the front of the room, silent and hollow. The auctioneer, cold and indifferent, calls for a bid. No response comes from the audience, not even a sound. The auctioneer calls out again, “Can I have an opening bid of five dollars?” The room is still quiet, until a chair at the back of the room breaks the silence and screeches across the marble floor, echoing through the auditorium. An elderly man stands up and walks to the display table. He lovingly lifts the instrument, tunes it, then draws the bow across the strings with the elegance of a ballerina in a pirouette. From within the violin’s hollow rosewood chamber lifts a melody that fills the room and pierces the heart of each attendee. Once he finishes, the man returns the violin to its stand and walks back to his seat. After a short pause, the auctioneer tearfully continues, “Can I have an opening bid for this beautiful rosewood Stradivarius?” Immediately, there is a response of “Five hundred,” then, “Six hundred,” and so it climbs until the auctioneer cries, “Sold to the highest bidder!”

In this age of ever-changing teaching aids based on the newest and greatest classroom technology, purchasers of education are forgetting the value of a mentor. As powerful as technical advances are, they are no substitute for wisdom, practical knowledge, and hands-on experience. The tangible and interpersonal components of education cater to a field that is based on firsthand knowledge and human interaction. These cannot be replaced or simulated by machinery.

Like the master violinist, a quality aviation instructor does not just train their student; they educate and impart years of time-tested experience. Drawing on decades of observation, fact finding, troubleshooting, and practical application, the instructor relays priceless professional skills to the student, as well as invaluable tips, insights, and advice. While on-site, the educator draws out the apprentice’s hidden abilities, turning him or her into a master of the trade, whether in the classroom or the hangar.

Human interaction allows students to reach their full potential as aviation technicians and professionals. It is through discourse that students truly learn, such as, “Stage the component so that it is vertical. Now turn it 90 degrees until you hear and feel it click into place. Good. Did you hear and feel it set into place?” Interpersonal communication is uniquely powerful. Sight, smell, hearing, and touch are invaluable tools employed by qualified educators. These skills also troubleshoot the illogical, such as when the book follows one law, but a broken part follows another. By thinking outside the box, a proficient student under a strong, guiding hand can  learn even the non-standard issues that arise.

Is technology good in the classroom? It can be a good supplement. But when it comes to teaching you about your aircraft in your hangar, the greatest value lies with the mentor at your location. Tips, insights, and advice, as well as sight, smell, hearing, and touch, are the most valuable aids in any learning experience. These are part of the human experience and wisdom that makes someone a quality aviation professional.