There is a residual material that appears when welding; it is called slag by those of the trade. This waste matter is a combination of oxidized metals and silicon dioxide that usually rises to the top of a molten vat of liquid as part of the purifying process of different types of ores, such as iron, copper, nickel, and lead.
In the case of welding, when two metal plates are merged, it creates a pool of molten materials. As the pool cools, there is a deposit composed of the bead – which is the bond itself – and the slag.
When the bond is complete, the slag is either chipped or ground away to reveal the shiny bead. Because it is a blend of the two plates, the bead is stronger than the plates. When placed under pressure, the original plates will falter, crack, and break before the welded area will ever give way. It is the extreme heat and removal of impurities that creates this strength.
The creation of a strong team requires each member to remove their own slag to make the bond stronger. To achieve the best results in a project, it is important to recognize what is slag and what is an attribute that can produce the best outcome. Consider the negative connotations connected with ego and pride, or someone who is nitpicky and opinionated. You might be surprised that these traits can actually help the team – if utilized correctly.
Ego is defined as the view a person has of himself or herself. Often, this can be a person that is full of self-importance and detrimental to a team because of their inability to see their own weaknesses. Yet, for a team to function, the participants need to be able to have a positive ego and believe in their talents. Knowing you are qualified and able to accomplish a task with great success because of past experiences is important to the team so that they can envision possibilities.
Sometimes confused with ego, pride is thinking of oneself or another in high esteem. It can have negative implications when associated with a person’s personality. It is true that an individual’s lack of humility can tarnish the team’s enthusiasm for a project. Yet, pride in doing the best work possible is an essential component in performing an assignment well. If each person takes satisfaction in performing at peak capacity, the team and project reflects the efficiency of the group.
Nitpicky is an informal way to describe someone who is overly focused on tiny details. Being nitpicky may frustrate team members if it prolongs an assignment. However, having an eye for detail in aviation is very important because it leads directly to safety. Intense quality control saves lives. In some situations, a checklist is not enough. Whatever the project or assignment, in-depth inspections are a vital part of the process.
Opinionated people firmly adhere to their own ideas or preconceived notions. They can be burdensome, but they have the confidence to speak their mind, which can benefit the team. Often, opinions are based on life experiences, education, and wisdom that can be crucial to the investigation of new ideas and the invention of cutting-edge concepts.
If there is an excess of any of these traits, it is best to chip away at the slag to remove the impurities, maintaining the iron or strength of the team. Just remember not to grind too deeply, which could weaken the integrity of the individual or team. Remove only the detrimental slag with the goal of refinement to get more out of your team and your life.
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