Keep your cool

Josh, a field foreman for a sheet metal fabrication company in Clackamas, Oregon, told session seven of the Leadership Development Lab:

“I have been dealing with a lot of issues on my current project, one of which is the framers completely missing a lot of our openings where the duct work is to go through the walls. I walked the floor a month and a half ago with the framers foreman pointing out on my layout where all the openings were required.

“It didn’t seem to make any difference and they continued to miss hole after hole. I walked up to one of the crew and once again told him they had missed several openings. He replied, ‘I don’t know what to tell you. You guys usually have your duct up before we do sheet rock. So, it’s your problem.’ I felt the blood rise up in my neck so fast. Instead of blowing up like I felt justified in doing, I calmly explained to him that the reason we don’t have our duct in is because his company’s foreman asked us to delay the duct installation, ‘So, you guys could more easily do your sheet rock and sand caulking faster.’

He didn’t really seem to care. So I just said, ‘I will take it up with your foreman and get it taken care of.’ I didn’t lose my cool or temper. I calmly resolved the issue with his foreman.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is when I take a step back and stay calm, I can explain the problem and not add to an already stressful situation. This leads to a faster and better resolution to my construction project problems.

“The action I call you to take when you feel your blood pressure rising is just step back and calmly explain the reasons why the situation is the way it is. Present the facts as you understand them.

“The benefit you will gain is you will diffuse stressful situations and open the eyes of others to the reason behind the issues at hand.”

When we are challenged as Josh was with uncooperative, stubborn people who create road blocks for us, we can easily fall into the trap of wanting to prove we are “right.” Being right can become more important to us than solving the problem. You can prove you are right in the wrong way. If and when you do this you create a new problem that is bigger than the problem you were trying to solve. Make it a point to seek understanding, cooperation, and collaboration and your projects will be successful.

You can reach Larry Dennis
in Loganville, GA
TODAY at or