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WORKPLACE COLLABORATION


CONTEXT: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BALCONY AND THE BASEMENT


DRAWING CONCLUSIONS FROM ONE SOURCE IS LIKE SEEING THE WORLD WITH ONE EYE CLOSED


The second and fi nal C on our


journey exploring and inspecting your character is Context — the ability to put each individual situation into its proper framework to ensure the most appropriate action is taken.


TAKE THIS STAND-ALONE


SITUATION: For the third day in a row, Alex has taken a 90-minute lunch. When he returns, he appears pre-occupied and works more slowly than he did in the morning. He has caused some tight deadlines and handoff s, which has added stress and frustration for others in the department. If Joe, another mechanic, came


to you with this situation, what would your immediate thoughts and subsequent actions be? To illustrate the importance of context, take the above situation and overlay any of these backgrounds: a) Alex has seen Randy, another mechanic, work shortened hours with no apparent consequences. He believes in fairness and begins taking longer lunches as his way of working the hours Randy works and, in his mind, equaling the playing fi eld.


b) Alex is having personal problems. His mother is in declining health at an assisted living facility. Lunch was always a special time for them to spend together when he was a child and he wants to spend as many lunches with her as he can. She is also more lucid earlier in the day than later in the evening.


c) Alex has had a lot on his mind and his blood pressure has been rising. In addition, the stress has made him irritable. His doctor recommended he get more exercise to counter these eff ects. Because of extenuating factors, and for safety reasons, he works out at lunchtime.


d) Alex has been unhappy in his current position for quite some time. He believes he is under- utilized and unfortunately there is no upward movement available. He feels because of this that he is justifi ed in taking a longer lunch. Without knowing the context, you might take action that does not fi t the ‘balcony view’* of the core issue — the root cause, as we frequently call it. If you react to this situation and take only one approach without investigating the true cause, you can either aggravate the situation (b, c) or inadvertently give your approval


BY DR. SHARI FRISINGER


OUR FIRST C WAS FOR COMMUNICATION — THE DIFFERENT STYLES OF COMMUNICATION AND HOW THESE STYLES AFFECT OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS, EMOTIONS, ACTIONS AND INTERACTIONS. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HARMONIOUS AND SAFE WORKING ATMOSPHERE AND A HOSTILE, STRESS-FILLED ENVIRONMENT. MUCH LIKE YOUR INNER THOUGHTS, POOR COMMUNICATION IS AN UNREALIZED SAFETY HAZARD.


for their unwanted and perhaps detrimental actions (a, d). Putting your thoughts, emotions and actions in the context of the situation will ensure fairness and integrity. Let’s use another situation that can


be responded to in a variety of ways, depending on the context: Louis studied for months for the CAM exam; he purchased the study guides, read the books and talked with other mechanics and DOMs who have taken the exam. He felt he passed the exam and was devastated when he received the letter stating he did not. He feels he is a failure and that dark cloud remains over his head, aff ecting his thoughts, moods and task completion activities. Let’s put this in two diff erent contexts:


Context 1: Louis is a failure and this proves it. This is an example of catastrophic thinking — becoming obsessed with worst case results that have no rational evidence to support this belief. These thoughts may be traced back to old beliefs or experiences. These drive emotional reactions and create fear that can spiral into a pending disaster. By capturing these thoughts and


30 DOMmagazine.com | july 2017


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