6 Safety Leadership Attributes Most Effective in Changing Behaviors

“Its easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

MARK TWAIN

In our attempt to become effective safety leaders, we must build strong relationships, respect, and create an atmosphere of trust and value. In my years of growth as a safety professional, I’ve learned through trial and error how to build real relationships with the workforce. These relationships resulted in respect and trust. In a recent survey to 50 hourly workforce employees, I asked the following question; 

“what leadership attributes would be most effective in convincing you to consider changing your actions and behaviors.” 

With the responses, I was able to identify 6 keys attributes safety professionals need to exhibit to convince workers to change their actions and behaviors.

  1. Clarity: Communicate the “why” of each expectation and requirement – We must be clear and concise in our expectations and requirements, but to ensure buy-in, you must present why these instructions are critical to the safety of each worker. People want to be “in the know.” They want to know where they are headed and what you expect from them so they can deliver. 
  2. Relationship: Connect with your workers – Many safety professionals are enforcers and don’t focus on conencting and building relationship. This causes tension and disrespect. Be present with your people. Please don’t leave them wondering who you are. They are looking for you to connect with them and build a working relationship. Learn names. Acknowledge people as you walk around. Recognize that life is going on outside of work. 
  3. Confident humility: Humble yourself and empower your workforce for success – Be competent and confident in your role, but lead with humility. Be decisive when necessary, and illustrate your knowledge by the reality of your decisions. Ask for suggestions and consider all solutions when looking to implement or change requirements and expectations. Safety professionals make mistakes often. I know I do!
  4. Encourager: Cheer on your workforce – While walking the work area(s), be on the lookout for those who are exceeding expectations and give them the recognition they deserve. Let those who are meeting the minimum requirements know how much you appreciate them following the rules and meeting your expectations. Encourage those doing the right thing that they are setting themselves up to go home the same way they came in. FOr those not exhibiting safe behaviors, ask them “why”, explain the expectations and “why” and encourage them to commit to working safely.
  5. Courage: Challenge your workforce – When problems occur, challenge your workforce to identify solutions. Creativity and innovation drive buy-in, which results in progress and safe performance. Have difficult conversations when necessary, and always get a commitment to do the right thing. People want to know where they stand and where they might need to improve.
  6. Passion: Let your workforce know you care for them – LOVE what you do or LEAVE! Exhibit unlimited energy and enthusiasm for your people, purpose, vision, and the values you embrace. Passion will drive buy-in and respect. It will inspire the workforce to consider doing the right thing. The safety profession is about people. When workers realize your passion is for their safety, and not just a job, they will be more prone to do what is right. Don’t be shy about your passions; let it shine through, and people will follow.

Exhibit these six attributes, and you will build strong relationships, gain respect, and create an atmosphere of trust and value. Accomplishing this will reduce risks, prevent injuries, and make a difference in others!

undefinedDenis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader.  

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

All You Are Is Full Of Hot Air! Moving From Words To Actions

c700x420Last Saturday morning I stepped out on my apartment balcony and saw several hot air balloons passing overhead. In fact, one was lifting off from the field across from the complex. As if I were a little kid, I excitedly called my wife over to show her the activity. She reluctantly came, and I began telling her how I was going to buy a hot air balloon, and I would take her up on a beautiful evening flight with a bottle of cabernet, and we would gaze into each other’s eyes into the evening sunset.

She looked at me and said, “All you are is a bunch of hot air.”

Hey wait a minute, I was romantic. Maybe that is why I was “full of hot air.” I am not well known for my romantic side.

Has anyone ever told you, you were full of hot air? If so, you are not alone. I think this post will help you understand why our words should not be hot air but rather backed up by the foundation of our actions.

It came to me that day while watching hot air balloons drifting overhead, that our words have a great impact on those we speak too. In fact, I realized that our words indicate our intended actions, but the follow-through is more important than any word in our vocabulary.

My intention is not to be a know it all, however, I think I know it all. If you don’t know it, then how will you solve it? Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.  Had anyone ever say that to you? I hear it often because I talk too much. Regardless of the situation, I have the answer, and you will listen to it. My intention is not to be a know it all, however, I know it all. If you don’t know it, then how will you solve it? Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.

I hear “you’re full of hot air, or that’s a lot of empty hot air coming from your mouth,” often. Probably because I talk way too much and have to get in everyone’s business to resolve everyone’s problems. Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.Had anyone ever say that to you? I hear it often because I talk too much. Regardless of the situation, I have the answer, and you will listen to it. My intention is not to be a know it all, however, I know it all. If you don’t know it, then how will you solve it? Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.

I know what you’re thinking, stop rambling and tell us what you are going to tell us.  Ok, Ok, got it. Here you go:

  1. Our actions build trust – Without trust, there is no influence, and without influence, there is no leadership. Deliver on what you say, and you begin to create trust.
  2. Our actions show personal responsibility – When, what we speak, is backed up by what we do, people begin to recognize the responsibility we have for achieving the desired outcome.
  3. Our actions create our reputation – You are known by your behaviors and the work you do. Make sure the things you say are truthful and backup by your actions.
  4. Actions show commitment – When we act, we validate our words, thoughts, and ideas.  We move from the verbal to the physical. Actions move our verbal commitment to the tangible result.

Our words are essential. They lay the foundation of our beliefs and our desires. However, they are merely words, actions prove our intentions and reflect our beliefs and desires.

Choose your words carefully, they must be backed up with actions.

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