Controlling the situation starts with self-control
Ken, a mechanical maintenance engineering technologist for a paper mill in northern Ontario, Canada, told Session 7 of the Leadership Development Lab:
"Last Friday I was asked to be prepared to inspect seven vessels. Since I had already received assistance from a technical service representative two days before, I requested that he complete the check inspections and provide reports because he had the most experience with handling this type of workload with such a small amount of advance notice. Meanwhile, I had to make sure that Operations was prepared for us to get started on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. Their part of the process is to ensure that all the documentation is prepared, be certain all the lockouts are completed, and the air testing arrangements are finalized with the lab. Assistance was also arranged for with our Emergency Response Team (ERT) for descending into the vessel with all the necessary equipment. Luck was on our side with the ERT because they were officially training that day for descents.
Well, all was not ready for 8:00 a.m. from Operations and I had to take the lead to make things happen because the assistant superintendent was very disorganized. I needed to get some ventilation equipment from another department, and, in some cases, I needed to witness and guard the
vessel entries until the ERT was present near the site. I also had to clean out the floor of two of the chests while we were waiting. The first inspection did not begin until 10:30 a.m., 2Ĺ hours behind schedule. In spite of that, all inspections were done by 3:00 p.m. This could be a record; we accomplished a great deal in 4Ĺ hours.
I feel that I demonstrated great restraint and patience that day for a job where all I was supposed to do was to inspect seven vessels (a big job in itself).
The lesson I learned from this experience is that I am an empowered leader and I can demonstrate great patience; being a thermostat versus a thermometer. The action I call you to take when a situation becomes out of hand is to be a thermostat, calm and collected. When the opportunity calls for it, lead by empowerment. Take one step at a time, handle one thing at a time and control the situation. Donít let the situation control you.
The benefit you will gain is things will come together and productivity will soon increase. More importantly, you will feel good about how you handled yourself, who you are, and who you are becoming. In the long run, your example will help create a responsible culture where people are reliable and prepared to do their part, even when there is no advance notice."