Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spider Senses

There is a technician with whom I work with a lot at my job. We have been in an around each other for more than 15 years. I think that we have a good respect for each other and have a pretty easing-going rapport. The other afternoon while I was in a meeting, he was responsible for moving some equipment for me in my work area. The equipment was expensive, fragile, cumbersome, and weighed nearly a ton. The job task was to put the equipment into a specially designed stand using a portable gantry system. During this work, several pieces of the equipment were damaged.

The next day when we were working together, I was going over what happened and noted the damage. We discussed how it occurred and then I talked about how I thought the loading procedure was flawed and needed to be reconsidered. Somewhere in the conversation, my mind registered that the technician got kind of quiet and his mannerisms became much less jovial. At the time it didn't really sink in given all that was going on, as my mind was focussed on the de-briefing and how things could be done differently. When I got home that evening, it dawned on me that something had happened. It was like my spider senses suddenly began tingling that something I said had wounded this man. It ate at me through the evening. I resolved to talk to him first thing the next morning.

I found him at 7:30 a.m. the next day and pulled him aside. I told him that I sensed that I had said something that hurt him and I apologized. I immediately could see his whole body relax and his happy spirit return. In my younger days if I felt that my words had negatively impacted someone else, I would have rationalized to myself that I meant no bad intent in my remarks and the other person would just have to get over it. My feelings and how I acted upon them in this instance clearly demonstrated the kind of growth that I have been striving after for a long time.