Lessons From a Lineman:
Be On The Team:
Learning to trust others, especially to trust them with my life did not come easy. On a 10 man crew things can happen quickly. Learning to watch and listen to all the others took discipline. Being a team at work also meant being a team off work. This could be helping get a car operating again or providing a place that someone felt comfortable talking about a personal situation. Team work is being able to almost read the mind of your partner when you are working together. Being able to get the right tool before being asked and not having to say thanks every time. Being there for one another on and off the job every day. Now that is being on the team.
Take The Initiative:
If you see something that needs done – Do It! This sounds easy. The opportunity comes when you are new to the situation and have no clue what needs done or how to do it. When I first started I had no clue myself. I did however know that the cab of the truck was a pigs sty and so I set about cleaning it up. Sweeping the dirt out – cleaning the windshield – both inside and out – Throwing away the trash and old newspaper and of course the old magazines. All was grand until the senior lineman discovered that his personal stack of magazines were gone. That’s when I learned that no good deed goes unpunished. Fortunately the other guys thought it was such a good improvement that I was given the job to clean all the trucks. It only lasted until the next new grunt was hired. Boy was I glad.
Have you ever been given a task and then forgot to do it? Yea, me too. The thing is that if you say you will – you have given your word. As a lineman that was about the highest regard you could give. Your word was your bond. In today’s world I not sure if that still counts and I have gotten myself into to jams by trusting another’s words. But, for me I still like the handshake and give you my word deals. Just do what you say you are going to do and the trust you will build will be a lasting relationship.
If you see someone doing a good thing – Tell Them! Everyone likes to be recognized and told they are doing a good job. Everyone does something good. So tell them. Find out what others around like to do or want to do. Ask them how you can be of service to them in realizing that want or dream. Keep it in your thoughts and encourage them to go for it. (Within reason)
Admit When You Screw Up:
At the end of every day as we would do our paper work and talk about what we had completed and what needed done the next day, we would always ask the same question? Was there something we could have done better and was there something that needed changed. I found out early that if I admitted that I messed up a transfer and we were going to have to go back and fix it tomorrow – all was well. It’s hiding it that will always get you in trouble and sometimes your team hurt.
Apologize & Move On:
This is just what it says. Apologize – Learn from your mistakes – Move On – Pass on your knowledge.
Give Your Best:
Every day we are given the opportunity to give our best. To be judged by US and not by others. Only we know in our hearts if we are truly giving our best. This really stretches to the ongoing and continuous learning and passing it on. “Do Your Best”
This was hard for me and still is sometimes. Where I grew up praise was not a positive directive. It was often used to ridicule and punish. When the senior lineman told me I was doing a great job. I made a joke about it. I saw` his face change. I had hurt his feelings by not accepting his praise and encouragement. From then on I did my best to say two simple words “Thank You”.
Praise is the truest form of acceptance and self-worth. Finding a good thing to say to someone will not only make their day better it will make your day better. Get out and tell someone they are the best at what they do!
Never stop learning. Read everything – books & magazines. Share the knowledge. Keep a journal with things that interest you. Read the paper. Listen to the radio (do so sparingly as not to become a negative person).