Number 2013/05/31– 040 – (l) PP. Original Author: Great Lakes Region FAASTeam; POC Phil Randall, AFS-850, Greensboro FSDO, 336-369-3948; Review/Revision 1 by Pete Wilhelmson, AFS-850
This is the worst result of Lack of Assertiveness. Of course the mechanic did not know this would be the climax when asked by owner to install a “good” propeller to ferry the aircraft back home for maintenance. While installing the propeller the mechanic detected it didn’t fit well with spinner and bulkhead installed. The bolts were too short! No matter what the mechanic knew about the aircraft or what was discussed with the owner what should the mechanic done at this moment in time? Ask for responses from the audience. Answer: Just say no! Don’t install the propeller! Walk away now! However, what did happen is the mechanic installed the “good” two bladed propeller with the spinner and bulkhead removed! Why on earth would they do that!! This is the result of not saying NO! The prop departed the engine shortly after takeoff and the pilot was fatally injured! To make a long story short, the propeller was incorrect for the installed STC engine that required different model, three bladed propeller.
This presentation is intended to explain and discuss Lack of Assertiveness and to provide some thoughts to increase awareness. We will also give some tips about how you can be more assertive in your work environment in the interest of ensuring safety and compliance.
You may recognize this image from the FAASTeam Dirty Dozen pocket calendar. Although the calendar no longer exist, this cause of maintenance human error does. Lack of Assertiveness is something you need to be aware of in course of performing your job as an aircraft maintenance technician. Lack of Assertiveness could be defined as, failure to speak up or otherwise document concerns about instructions, orders or the actions of others. Some things you need to considerations to avoid the effects of Lack of Assertiveness is you must always “Put Safety First”. If you do, you will be compelled to “ Just Say NO” if being pressured to do something YOU know is wrong, false, unsafe, immoral or unethical. Have you ever worked for a person like this?
Assertiveness is a good thing! It means that you speak up when you believe it is necessary. When an assertive worker sees an opportunity, they bring it to the attention of their co-workers or the management. There are times when assertiveness is an absolutely necessary part of aviation safety . However research has shown that aircraft maintenance technicians are not generally very good at speaking up or being assertive. All too often AMTs have valuable information or questions to share with the group but remain silent. Why?
Some people confuse assertiveness with aggression. To be assertive you don’t have to dig in your heels and argue a point without compromise. A respectful approach is necessary to not create an adversarial situation. Ever work with or for someone who always wanted it done their way? Sometimes they are correct, but often they weren’t. How do you handle someone like this? You need to let them know, tactfully, when they are incorrect.
Being assertive means communicating your thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, beliefs and opinions to others in a direct and honest manner, without intentionally hurting anyone’s feelings. If you feel something isn’t right say so. I was taught a long time ago that the only “Dumb Question” is the one you never asked… But do so as not to offend, but to learn and help others learn.
It takes practice to communicate effectively with assertiveness. It may take climbing out of your comfort zone but in time acting assertive will allow you to feel self-confident and will generally gain you the respect of your peers.
Confront the issues not the individual. Imagine assertiveness as the middle Ground between aggression and passivity. This pretty much says what needs to be said here. Do not turn this into a personal grudge match, no one will win…
You have a right to be assertive especially to say “No” when asked to do something contrary to the rules and regulations. You have the right to speak up when you have something to add to the conversation and you have the right to ask for clarification if instructions are ambiguous. Your profession demands this! Public trust and confidence demands this! Safety demands this! What is meant by Ambiguous? Ambiguous indicates the presence of two or more possible meanings: Or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead; What would be a good example of something being ambiguous? Maybe an ill written Maintenance Manual or Work Order.
Have the power of conviction to state your case. If you sense something is not right, or unsafe, speak up, even if your teammates do not agree. You may find you are questioning negative “Norms” of an organization. You can be sure that there is likely one or more of your teammates who feel as you do. Set the example, soon you will be respected that you do care that the task is accomplished correctly.
We are professionals. We have the obligation and responsibility to do the best job possible. There should be no doubt in the quality of work we perform. If you failed to speak out about something that you thought might be incorrect and later people died because of it, how would you feel then? I have had friends tell me that a gut feeling saved their lives, wouldn’t you feel better knowing you had made a difference?
Psychologists break behavioral styles down into two types or a combination thereof. Relationship oriented style: The feeling of others are very important and rank high in the decision making process. This style usually results in a caring or nurturing behavior. 2. Task oriented style: The first consideration is given to the task or goal and the feelings of others is a minor consideration. This style is a more aggressive type of behavior.
A person who is high relationship orientated and low task orientated is considered to have a caring (nurturing) style of behavior. A person who is high task orientated and low relationship oriented is considered to have an aggressive style of behavior.
A person who is low in both task and Relationship orientation is considered to have a loner style of behavior. The person who is both high in relationship and task orientation is considered to be an assertive style of behavior. Clearly this last style is the desirable one, a style that we should work for
In the range of human behavior it could be said that one pole is the passive pole. It is a place where the person considers others rights as more important than his own. At the other end is Aggressive. Being aggressive means selfishly pushing for what you want at the expense of other people. Assertiveness lies in the middle.
There are some strategies to offset maintenance errors that many be caused by the Lack of Assertiveness. If you read maintenance procedures and not fully comprehend or understand all the instructions you need to react. Trust your senses. If you don’t feel right about something Get the persons attention and state the problem: Mike, I have a concern with…..
Give consequences: If we continue….this will be the result…. Give solutions: We could…you may want to try…I’d like to…. Solicit feedback: What do you think?
Do you have high standards. Evaluate your standards and set them high. Do not compromise your standards. Remember to deal with one issue at a time and do not embellish or exaggerate. Stick to the facts and stay in control. This is important! Don’t make the problem a personal issue but do communicate your concerns. Lack of Assertiveness will suck you in to not following procedures. When confronted or tempted to deviate from approved or accepted procedures STOP and think about what are the consequences. The first time you do this you may feel a bit guilty because you have compromised your standards and professional ethics. You will try to rationalize that it was something minor and will have no consequences. This is likely to happen more frequently during scheduled repetitive inspections. Scenario: There have been a number of schedule delays and now operator demands their aircraft be completed! You boss is feeling the pressure. He asks you how much more work do you have left to do. You explain all is done except for removing and inspecting the area under one large inspection panel with about 100 screws. You explain you put that aside earlier during the inspection because it had several stripped screw heads and it would take time to remove them. You boss suggests overlooking that area until the next inspection because you never found anything wrong there before. I won’t hurt to overlook it this time. You can get it next time. What are you going to do? If you lack the assertiveness to communicate your concerns and “just say no”, you have just begun dangerous behavior pattern and it will get less bothersome with each occurrence.
Here is a scenario: There have been a number of schedule delays and now the owner demands the aircraft be completed! Your feeling the pressure. The owner asks you how much more work do you have left to do. You explain all is done except for removing and inspecting the area under one large inspection panel with about 100 screws. You explain you put that aside earlier during the inspection because it had several stripped screw heads and it would take time to remove them. The owner suggests overlooking that area until the next inspection because you never found anything wrong there before. I won’t hurt to overlook it this time. You can get it next time. What are you going to do? If you lack the assertiveness to communicate your concerns and “just say no”, you have just begun dangerous behavior pattern and it will get less bothersome next time this occurs………………..and it will occur again! Think of the worst possible consequences.
If you have a bad feeling regarding what your about…………………. or being asked to do……………………..or not to do…………………………..Keep this in mind!
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Presented to:By:Date:Federal AviationAdministrationAirworthinessHuman FactorsR1Lack of Assertiveness<Audience><Presenter>< >
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness2
Federal AviationAdministrationObjective• Explain “Lack of Assertiveness”• Increase awareness of “Lack ofAssertiveness”• Give tips how you can be more assertive3
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness4
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Speak up and be assertive.• AMT’s have valuableinformation5
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Assertiveness vs. aggression• How to assert oneself6
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Being assertive requires effectivecommunicating skills.7
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Effective communication takes practice.8
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Confront the issues not the individual.• Imagine assertiveness as the middleground between aggression andpassivity.9
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• You have a right to be assertive and say“No”!• You have the right to speak up and ask forclarification if instructions or proceduresare ambiguous.10
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Have the conviction to state your case.11
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Our profession demands precise execution.12
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Two behavioral styles- Relationship- Task13
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• A person who is high relationshiporientated and low task orientated isconsidered to have a _________ styleof behavior.• A person who is high task orientatedand low relationship oriented isconsidered to have an ________ styleof behavior.14
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• A person who is low in both task andrelationship orientation is considered tohave a ________ style of behavior.• The person who is both high in relationshipand task orientation is considered to be an________ style of behavior.15
Federal AviationAdministration16AggressivePassiveAssertivePerformanceAssertivenessAngerOffenseAcquiesceCompromiseOthersRightsYourRightsBoth Party’s RightsTeam WorkSynergyHighLow
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• There are strategies to offseteffects of Lack of Assertiveness• Get people to listen17
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of AssertivenessGive consequences:If we continue….this will be the result….Give solutions:We could…you may want to try…I’d like to….Solicit feedback:What do you think?18
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Do not compromise your standards .• Remember to deal with one issue at atime and do not embellish or exaggerate.• Stick to the facts and stay in control.• Follow and Comply with procedures19
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness20
Federal AviationAdministrationLack of Assertiveness• Failure to Follow Procedures- FFP– Some FFP’s go undetected!– Some FFP’s get caught!!– Some FFPs cause injuries!!!– Some FFP’s kill innocent people!!!!• Like the ODDS? Like the RISK?Be AssertiveFOLLOW PROCEDURES!!21
Federal AviationAdministrationConclusion• Questions or Comments?• www.faasafety.gov• General Aviation Award Program• AMT Award Program• WINGS Program• Give us your Feedback.– http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/stakeholder_feedback/afs/field/sf_faasteam/22