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.

LOVE – HATE – DISCONTENT What’s Your View of Our World?

Recently, I was on a flight trying to get some sleep before arriving to meet up with my colleagues for a series of meetings. Usually, I prefer to take the first flight out so that the chances of a delay are reduced. However, I live 2 hrs from the airport and a 6 am flight is pretty darn early. So, I settled into my window seat and put on my headphones drifting off to the sounds of Ray LaMontagne. As people boarded, I realized very quickly that my flight was going to be a challenge. Two ladies sat behind me. And apparently, they began their early morning with several Bloody Mary’s.

Both women were VERY loud, vulgar and the one directly behind me would continuously slam down the tray and kick my seat. Her timing was impeccable! Every time I fell asleep, she did something to wake me up. Frustration began to settle into my soul. I would continually turn around and give her the evil eye, trying to get her attention to stop. However, I think it encouraged her to do it even more. I eventually fell asleep but awoke when she violently pulled the top of my seat backward. She was in haste to go to the bathroom and lacked a complete disregard for others around her.

I realized sleep would evade me. I took out my laptop and continued to listen to music with my noise-canceling headphones. The two of them were loud enough that I was able to hear their conversations (even with my noise-canceling headphones). I tried to ignore them, but the topics began to intrigue me. They were talking about politics, their hairdresser, husband, and boyfriend. I heard them bring up the cashier at the store and the “idiot” that made them miss a green light because he was on the phone (I would agree with them on that one). They talked about the ladies they were meeting for their birthday weekend and how annoying they were. They talked about how long it took the flight attendant to get them their drinks (I was praying she forgot). And this continued for the duration of the 3 hr flight.

As I sat there and went through all of his, I began to think about how people view the world we live. And I realized it’s all based on our perspective and the influences surrounding us.I thought about the phrase “love is, actually, all around.”

If you spend time pursuing social media, the web, CNN or Fox News, I believe you’d find that the current state of affairs is one consumed with hate and greed. Ethical values are hard to come by in the workplace, politics and within personal lives. It seems people with integrity are few and far between and that the underlying message to the young and old is that ” the world sucks, and then you die.”

I think the advent of social media and an increased interest in the 24 hr. news, we, as a society have become obsessed with the shockingly evil things that take place. The good in the world is rarely highlighted.

In the words of Hugh Grant’s opening monologue in the movie, “Love Actually,” he says this;

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinions starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate and revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually, is all around.”

As a frequent business traveler, I spend a large part of my day in and out of airports, traveling between cities, hoping to make my connection and eating high fat “travel” food. Airports provide a chance to catch up on phone calls, answer emails and work on projects. It is also a great place to people-watch.

Airports offer a simple look into society and the variation found in individuals. There are people happy to go on vacation and people frustrated because their travel plans have changed. There are some who’ve had too many drinks (remember the ladies behind me?) and others experiencing deep sadness as they travel to attend the funeral of a loved one.
One thing I’ve learned from the airport terminals and from sitting on long flights is that “love is actually all around us.”

I realize that we are not as bad as social media and the news make us out to be. Sure, I believe the world has changed. Our moral compasses have been compromised, and ethics and integrity have taken a back seat. However, in the modified words of Hugh Grant, mothers and fathers love their kids, grandparents cannot get enough of their grandkids, people will help others, and our hearts are generally kind. We do love each other, regardless of how we look, dress and the color of our hair. We ultimately know what is right and choose to make our own decisions. We are happy and sad, but we lean on family and friends to support and encourage us.

There is still a moral compass upon us, and we are a society based upon ethical business practices through the integrity of others. When someone is wrongfully influenced, leaders will arise to bring about truth and honesty. Although society has evolved over the years, I am determined to see the good that is all too often consumed with the sensationalism of hate.

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.

TRANSFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE. The Unexpected Changing of Lives in the Midst of Hurricane Harvey

RAIN TOTALS

As a Native Houstonian, I am experiencing survivor’s guilt. It is heartbreaking to see family and friends suffering, houses being lost from flooding every day. I moved from Houston 6 years ago, and there is very little I can do but pray and encourage. I am also a first responder in my heart. God has given me the talent to keep people safe, and I am unable to do that. Even though there are things I can do to help and support (and I am), I know that friends and families are struggling, anxious at not knowing what the future brings. As of writing, there is still the possibility of an additional 15-30 inches of rain. Pray for their safety, peace, and sanity. Pray that they will know that ultimately good will come out of this catastrophic disaster.

In fact, I already see the good being done. In a nation where there is a focus on the debate over race, religion, and income equality. In a time where the country criticizes every decision made by local, state and federal governments. Where unity is but a distant hope, I see the people in the nation’s fourth largest city and surrounding areas, banding together in solidarity to help their neighbors, friends, and family.

I see the rich and poor, people of all ages, races, religions and rising up hurricane-harvey_culture_getty-1150x724and becoming leaders within their homes, families, and neighborhoods. I see leaders taking time off of their jobs and coming from all over the United States to support and save lives. I see leaders donating money, food, clothes and goods and their time for those who have lost everything. I see leaders risking their lives for others. I see churches and organizations opening their buildings up shelter, clothe and feed those in need. I know there are some working and staffing those shelters that are facing or have lost their home, have family in desperate need and are experiencing the same anxious thoughts as anyone else. But rather sulk in their despair and hopelessness, they chose to serve others and make a difference.

I SEE PEOPLE SACRIFICING THEIR COMFORTABLE LIFESTYLES FOR THE BETTER GOOD OF MANKIND!

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What the Houston area is witnessing is called, Servant Leadership. Serving others unselfishly with little or no regard to their circumstances. Out of this Servant Leadership, I see something much deeper occurring. I call it Transformational Influence. Leaders making a difference in people’s lives by influencing through their generous serving of others, and positive and encouraging conversations. They possess a positive attitude regardless of the situation or circumstance. Transformational Influence is a term I created from witnessing the transformation of people’s lives through conversation, prayer, and commitment to others. Transformational Influence occurs when we affect the way a person thinks, acts or behaves through our conversations, personal actions or simply our intention.

How can you have Transformational Influence in a time of crisis?

  • Be genuine in your relationship with those you encounter – Focus on the individual’s needs and desires. You can only do that by being sincere, involved and curious.
  • Be intentional – Go out of your way to get to know a person. See someone hurting or sitting alone? Go sit with them and let them share their struggles with you. Ask to pray.
  • Be a servant – Serve them with your whole heart. Make it a priority to help them get settled.
  • Be humble – Realize that you are not them. You are not feeling what they are feeling.
  • Be encouraging – Encourage through your conversation or simply just be there for them. Sometimes the most encouraging thing you can do is simply sit there and not say a word.
  • Give them Hope – Regardless of the situation or circumstance, there is hope. Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Let them see and hear hope for something better. Hope is our greatest asset and the greatest weapon we can use to battle our losses. Without hope, there is nothing.
  • Pray for Them, Daily and Often – Prayer changes people. Prayer changes situations. Even if you don’t pray with them, pray earnestly for their salvation and their success in life.

CalvaryUse this catastrophic and tragic situation to transform the lives of others through your Servant Leadership. Have Transformational Influence on those you come in contact with.

To the people of the greater Houston Area……..Continue to UNITE and Serve One Another! Show the world why Texas is the Best!

To those who have traveled to the area to assist……THANK YOU! Your commitment and service will be remembered for generations to come.

GOD BLESS HOUSTON, TEXAS!

Texas Helping Texans

8 REASONS I’M A PASSIONATE PERSON

I’ve been told many times I’m a passionate person.  I guess that’s accurate.  I have a passion for my marriage, my family, for employees to work safely and I have a passion for leaders to lead . In fact, pretty much my entire life seems to always reflect my passions.  I can’t go anywhere or have a conversation with anyone without talking about my wife, my grand daughter, safety or leadership.

I want to passionately influence people!

Passionate people sustain their efforts until they make a difference.  It drives them to do more, accomplish more, learn more and put up with more.  One thing I often tell my coaching clients is,

“If you love what you do, you’ll do more of it, so find what it is you love”

I recently became intrigued as to why people think I am a passionate person.  As I sat down and begin recalling conversations and asking questions, I found that most answers pointed to 8 reasons why I am a passionate person.

Here they are:

  1. I love what I do!
  2. I strive to remain positive
  3. I inspire to motivate
  4. I bring the sunshine
  5. I seek to to grow spiritually, personally and professionally
  6. I persevere
  7. I am determined
  8. I strive to maintain a servants heart

We have all been passionate about something.  But maybe the passion has died or subsided through out the years.  My purpose for this blog is not to arrogantly announce that I am a passionate person, but rather it is an attempt to show you that passion is found in what you love.  Find what it is you love, cherish and hold tightly to.

John Maxwell ask these three questions to help others find their passion:

  • What do you sing about?
  • What do you cry about?
  • What do you dream about?

What are you passionate about?

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Difficulties Creates Influence

Winston Churchill said, “Don’t argue about the difficulties, the difficulties will argue for themselves.”

We all experience difficulties in our personal and professional lives. But what I have learned is how we respond to these difficulties, determines our ability to continue to influence others. Here is how I approach difficulties;

1.Ask “Why?” once and figure out “What now?”
2.Quit whining, nobody cares!
3.Change what you can and accept what you can’t.
4. Remember, life isn’t fair and there are no guarantees.
5. When difficulties threaten to overcome, look for ways to help and serve others
6. Be grateful for what you have. Regardless of how little it may seem.

It can be exhausting to deal with various difficulties. However, you must persevere to conquer the opportunities to influence.

Difficulties

What Does “Dad” Look Like

IMG_5473Dad, Father, Pops are all the words used to described my Dad and myself.  As I sit in my “creative space” (office) on this Father’s Day, I thought I would share my thoughts on what a “Dad” looks like.

Here they are:

  1. Unconditional Love – As a dad, I realized early on in my daughter’s life the need for unconditional love.  Loving our children is a forever endeavor.  It is not something we bounce around based on what they do or say.  Dads must hold on tightly, even when the going gets tough.  We must love our children at their very best and their lowest low.  We must love regardless of situations and circumstances.  Our unconditional love will be an example that our children can build their lives upon with their families and those they come in contact with.  After all, we experience unconditional love through our Heavenly Father, Psalm 36:5 -7 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
  2. Encouragement – A dad must be a great encourager.  I still reflect back on my Dad’s encouragement while I was in the batter’s box, entering the work force, considering marriage and family and going back to college.  I loved encouraging my daughter throughout her life.  I love it even more now that she is married and has given me a grand daughter.  My goal is to provide sincere encouragement in all things of life through biblical principles.  I believe sincere encouragement gives hope.  Hope and encouragement go hand in hand.  There is no situation or circumstance that one can’t endure when encouragement and hope are sought from the Word of God.  Psalm 55:22, Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
  3. Relationship – A dad’s relationship with his children is one of the most defining attributes of a child’s character.  That relationship plays a very critical part of a child’s emotional well-being.   A dad who is affectionate, encouraging and involved in a child’s life creates a sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and a strong sense of character. I believe our relationship with our children creates a sense of love, trust and mutual respect.  When a child feels secure, loved and cherished, they will reciprocate the same to others.  “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” — Proverbs 23:24
  4. Influence – A dad has great influence on their children.  One must understand; however, the influence can be both good and bad.  As a dad, my desire was and is to always have a positive influence on my daughter.  My dad had an influence on me in may areas and ways. In fact his influence has gently driven my life and indirectly determined who I am and what I believe. Proverbs 113:30 says,“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
  5. Legacy  We will all leave something for our children.  The question is what is it?  A legacy isn’t something which we have no control over, but rather, we can choose the way in which our influence will remain once we’re gone. Like the shadow our character casts as we walk down the sidewalk, so too will our legacy follow us when we are gone.  The great basketball coach, John Wooden said,  “There is a choice you make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”  My constant prayer is that my choices would lead to a legacy of a deep love for the Word and things of God and the attributes of a solid, strong character. Deuteronomy 12:28 says, “careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.”

I thank the Lord every day for allowing me to be a dad.  I also thank him for my dad.  At the age of 82, I still listen to his words and heed his Godly wisdom.  I see a man who is still working to show unconditional love, working to build a relationship with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  13482971_10206370814733957_8132093746923670676_oHe continues to encourage me in everything and influence in the background.  Above all, I see a man that is striving to leave a legacy of love, character and a devotion to the things of God.

This is my prayer, that I may follow in his footsteps and be half the man he is.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL!