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WORKPLACE COLLABORATION


WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION:


PART TWO: BEHAVIORS AFFECTING SAFETY By Dr. Shari Frisinger L


ast month we presented four fairly common workplace behaviors that are diffi cult to handle appropriately. These behaviors can undermine the best of intentions and leave you (and your crew)


feeling frustrated, irritated, incompetent and/or helpless. Are the people who behave in this manner to express


their frustration intentionally being diffi cult? Probably not. Are they evil people? I doubt it. Are they dealing with one of life’s diffi culties? Probably so. Are they aware of just how challenging they are to talk to and work with? Probably not. Do they wish to be less diffi cult? Probably. Is your best course of action to just leave them alone? Possibly, and possibly not. Would helping them talk about it benefi t all involved? Probably. Will it be an awkward or uncomfortable conversation? Possibly — but it doesn’t have to be. We know the results of a series of safety slips. Skipped


steps, ‘seeing’ but not recognizing or acknowledging, not recalling prior actions, checking work again and again and again — these are all symptoms of an unsafe situation. When we are preoccupied with an irritating or worrisome situation, our attention is splintered and the possibility of one of those safety slips occurring increases. Becoming more aware of where our own thoughts take us improves our ability to notice this in others. Have you watched your team’s interactions during the past month? Have you been able to view their actions and hear their words without assigning any biases or inferences?


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Have you noticed behaviors that you might have missed before? By noticing more about your surroundings (both your physical environment and your interactions with others) you will become more attuned to anomalies. The sooner you can correct a potentially unsafe situation, the sooner you and your department members can return to what you enjoy and do best. Let’s do a quick review of the four behaviors (in the


interest of time and space, we will combine the fi rst two), off ering possible responses and consequences for those responses below each situation.


PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE Passive aggressive behaviors contradict what the person really believes. They might agree in public yet disagree and demonize decisions in private. They will minimize their concerns when approached by management, yet freely express their opinion with their peers. In their daily meeting, supervisor Stan is reviewing the schedule and timelines for the aircraft. Everyone updates their status and mechanic Mike is asked to help mechanic Tom. When the meeting ends, Mike complains under his breath about helping Tom. As he walks back to his work station, his face is scowled and he is obviously irritated. When Stan asks if anything is wrong, Tom replies “No, I am just working out a problem in my mind,” or something similar.


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