Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You're fired, moron!

Bob:  “Who is the moron who left the cell
phone in the aircraft’s engine 
Among the fifty attendees at the maintenance
staff meeting, Jill raises her hand, embarrassed
and frightened.
Bob:  “Jill, you are an idiot!  What moron 
leaves a cell phone in the engine cowling? 
Jill, you need to pack up your stuff and go.
You are done!  Let this be a lesson to all
of you to not do such an idiotic move; you
will be fired like Jill.   Jill, get your stuff
and get out!”

In a training session on ethics, we read the scenario (left) for discussion. Some of us initially agreed that Bob did the right thing in firing Jill. We generally agreed it perhaps should have been done in private.

The point of the training was respect in the workplace. Neither the reproof nor the disciplinary action should occur in front of the entire work group, of course.
But there's more.  If anyone should be fired, it’s Bob!

A few of us hung around as the session adjourned to talk further.  Aviation maintenance is a team effort with fairly rigid procedures.  Mechanics and technicians don’t have loose stuff in their pockets.  Tools are checked out and back in afterwards.  If a cell phone or hand-held radio is needed on the flight line, it’s annotated and checked on return.   QA verifies the work.  There are a variety of standards for such things, and it’s impressive when done right.

Bob’s fifty-person aviation maintenance facility wasn't doing it right.  Anger, name-calling, and firing the mechanic, all obscure the cause and don't address the organizational process failure.  Other employees aren't inspired to excellence by Bob's tantrum.  They're more likely to feel threatened and uneasy.  That's probably why company policy says don't do that.

A detailed inquiry, analysis, policy and practice checks, those are perhaps the reasoned response to such things. 

So if I lose my temper and really blast someone, chances are I've got it wrong.
Completely wrong?
A hundred percent wrong??
So I'm an idiot (i.e., acting in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way).
Peace River