Unintended Consequences

June 5, 2007
While they may not break bones like sticks and stones, words can have a powerful effect

To begin my column, I would like to issue a retraction of a statement in Steve Prentice’s Unintended Consequences article in the April issue of AMT. In the article, Prentice stated, “Owners of accident-prone aircraft, like the Piper Malibu series, are simply being told that their aircraft will no longer be worked on by the facility.” While it is true some aircraft owners are being turned down by maintenance facilities, AMT did not mean to imply that the Piper Malibu is accident-prone. We apologize for any unintended consequences the statement may have caused Piper.

Since I am already on the subject, I wanted to talk a little bit about words. People often don’t think about the power of words. The nursery rhyme may claim “words can never hurt me,” but we all know that is not true. We can use words in positive ways such as to praise, compliment, acknowledge, and thank people. But words can also be used negatively.

A former supervisor gave me some words of wisdom a few years ago. He said, “Always praise in public and criticize in private.” Those are some of the best words of wisdom given to me. (OK, “Don’t pee on an electric fence” ranks pretty high up there too.)

Praising in public doesn’t have to mean you need to have a companywide meeting to thank one of your co-workers. Even if it is just in front of a few co-workers, giving praise in front of others can go a long way to boost employee morale.

And if there is an issue that needs to be addressed, make sure to do it in private. Criticizing a co-worker in public is like putting out a fire with a bucket of gasoline. It tends to make matters much worse.

I will close by using this last paragraph of my written words in this month’s column for a little AMTonline.com promotion. We have a new Buyers Guide up and running. Our online Buyers Guide continues to be one of the most-visited portions of AMTonline.com. If you haven’t seen the re-designed Buyers Guide, I encourage you to take a look. Just go to AMTonline.com and click on Buyers Guide in the left navigation column. Your online source for products and services for aircraft maintenance professionals is just a few clicks away.

Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Joe Escobar