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Don’t Be Afraid of the F-Word

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
In today’s politically-correct setting, there are many words that we [should] feel guilty to utter. So, how do we get around that? Simple...we just use the first letter and add “word” after it as in “F-word” and, incredibly, everyone from the local clergyman to the youngest school student knows what it means. That fact in itself is a sad commentary on today’s society. As a matter of fact, it seems that our [American] English language is being changed right in front of our eyes. How many times have you seen misspelled words/ incorrect grammar usage in articles by supposedly educated journalists and people don’t seem to be concerned. “I know what it means”...“who cares if ‘I’ comes before ‘e’ except...” Discounting an old detergent, should “does” be spelled as “Duz”, for example? But enough about that as this isn’t a piece on today’s society or good grammar. Let’s look at some “_ -words”. What about the C -word? Communication! This is typically cited as the number one problem in organizations. The ability to get one’s point across, to express one’s self both orally and written are absolutely essential to any civilization right on down to every day interaction. What if your boss instructed you to repair a certain machine by “replacing the thing-ama-jig”? What if he told you that it was green and you cannot find anything on the machine that is green? What if you or he did not know the “definition” of green? Think about communication when you’re instructing your employees. One does not have to be a pseudo-intellectual and use “five-dollar words” to get the point across without ambiguity... just say what you mean! How many of you qualify for the L-word? This L-word is made up of six “words”, i.e. L=Learn. Learn all you can about your responsibilities, your employees, your company’s policies. E = Earn. You have to earn the respect of your employees and peers. It can’t be bought or demanded. A = Absorb. Absorb as much technical knowledge about your facility and its equipment as you can. D = Delegate. Don’t be afraid to give someone else a chance to excel. E = Earnest. Don’t be phony when dealing with yourself. Deal with them as you’d want to be dealth with. R = Recognize. Everyone likes a pat on the back as long as it is sincere. Celebrate success of your people. Personally, I think a lot of leaders, and people in general, are afraid of the F-word! You might be saying to yourself that that doesn’t make sense... why would I be afraid of THAT word?! The F-word I’m thinking of is Failure . I once knew a maintenance supervisor who was out of his element (trade). He knew very little about electrical, HVAC, pipefitting, machinery, etc. He was a builder. Consequently, whenever there was an emergency breakdown, he chose to stay at his desk rather than respond to the site because he was afraid that someone would look to him for answers that he could not give. He would have gained more respect had he responded with his men, took charge, delegated but admitted when he didn’t have an answer. We have many great L-Word people in AFE who can serve as mentors to the rest of us. Take advantage of that resource! Improve your C-Word skills and don’t be afraid of the F-Word! Have a great S-Word!