♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
May 2012

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety is an Issue for Most Companies, or, putting it differently, Things we Must Address if we Want to Improve our Safety Performance. This month we look at the role of the leader vs that of the individual, with a focus on the leader’s responsibilities.

     

Safety As A Value:

Leaders’ Roles and Responsibilities

     

It is a myth that leaders have to motivate their employees to work safely. No one can motivate someone else, because motivation is an inside job. At best leaders can inspire their followers to take safety seriously, not only at work or at home, but all the time and everywhere.

So how does a leader inspire?

By creating an environment which enables and empowers people to work safely. By providing the resources for safety – things like making time for and spending money on safety, as well as suitable safety systems and equipment.

The leaders have to become VIP’sVisible Involved Pro-active. They have to look to see, both the dangers and the opportunities. They have to listen to hear what those people ‘who push the buttons and use the tools’ are trying to tell them. The leader has to be a safety role model. People have to see that the leader takes safety seriously. The leadership behaviour in terms of safety sets the tone for the safety culture in an organization.

I have coined a new word, Peopology, to describe the art and science of moving PEOPLE into taking ACTION. Peopology is an art because it deals with the human side of life skills, often involving the so-called soft skills and emotional aspects of moving people into taking ACTION. Peopology is also a science because it is about the tools and techniques, systems and procedures, etc. which help move people into doing things – into taking ACTION

Picture: Jurgen Tietz's P-E-O-P-L-E Philosophy Model

Taking ACTION, in the peopology sense, does not mean an endless round of activities (meetings and so many other often fruitless corporate activities) that don’t produce results. PEOPOLOGY is about ACTION that gets RESULTS. Period!
(More detailed information about the model is available in my full article on Safety Culture.)

The leader has to influence his or her followers to become active (safety) employees, because safety is not only a work issue. In fact, many more people are killed outside the workplace, especially on the roads. All have to become involved in safety and take an active part in making safety happen, rather than sitting on the side-lines and letting safety ‘happen to us’. Leaders have to convince their followers that they should not assume or expect that the company, government or someone else will do something to ensure their safety.

Therefore, although leaders have a key role to play, it is up to each individual to become an ACTIVE SAFETY EMPLOYEE.

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