You Think You've Got Communication Problems Where You Work?
By Susan Dunn, M.A., the EQ Coach
Here are some maintenance log entries from a major airline - or so the email says, showing the problems reported by pilots (P) and solutions recorded by mechanics (S).
It's probably true. You couldn't make these things up.
P: Left inside main try almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main try.
P: Test flight OK, except autoload very rough.
S: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.
P: No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
S: No 2 propeller seepage normal. Nos. 1, 3 & 4 propellers lack normal seepage.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: live bugs on backorder.
P: Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're there for!
P: OFF inoperative.
S: OFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windscreen.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search. [The pilot meant engine "misfiring".]
P: Aircrafts handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed radar with words.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
Communication is hard in the work world, and in our private lives. Someone said "Whatever you say, assume it's been misunderstood, and it's probably a good idea.
In this case, we can see the misunderstandings, the humor and also the exasperation. Can you imagine the pilot assuming there was "autoload on his or her airplane? There's just no telling about other people's assumptions. I'm reminded of the attorney I once worked for who flagged me down while sharpening a pencil in an electric pencil sharpener. "How do I get this out of here? he asked me. Or the time our business went computer and my boss took his zip code for his salary and was furious. Sometimes communication takes a lot of tact!
We always tend to think things are easier somewhere else - that the communications we have between inside sales and outside sales are worse in our place, or the communication between lawyer and paralegal, or between partner and partner, or that surely pilots and mechanics can communicae"there's "only an airplane between the two of them.
As I say in my ebook, "Communication, good communication takes a lot of work - expressing yourself clearly, listening up, and repeating back for clarification to make sure you've understood and been understood. It's particularly hard in writing where there's no feedback (as we see here), and no non-verbals to read.
It also requires excellent emotional intelligence skills - creativity, flexibility, intuition, and empathy.
67% of the qualities that contribute to success are emotional intelligence competencies. Work on your communication! It will pay off in both your private and your professional life.
About the Author
Susan Dunn, MA Psychology, Emotional Intelligence Coach, I help people become better communicators and develop their emotional intelligence through coaching, Internet courses and ebooks. Susan is the author of "Nonverbal Communication."