I’m not sure what it is about safety that confuses leadership so thoroughly, but there are a few easily corrected mistakes that are costing business owners thousands of dollars in direct and indirect costs from workplace injuries and corresponding productions delays.  These mistakes are rooted in management style and an overall approach to safety.

Recent research has proven time and time again, that autocratic command and control leadership is far less effective than other leadership styles based on collaboration, team building, and community.  Despite this, when it comes to safety, all too often leaders think that they must do it all themselves.  They either don’t trust anyone else to do it “right,” keeping the responsibility to themselves, or, worse, they try and delegate the safety responsibility to some other person inside the company.

You Can’t Do It Alone

The problem is that one person isn’t enough.  Changing behaviors and beliefs which lead to safer habits is difficult.  The stakes are too high and the problems too widespread for one person to tackle. For any important initiative, but especially something as critical to the culture of an organization such as safety, the best strategy is to build a team of influential figures that have been inspired and empowered to champion safety throughout the organization.

Build Safety Teams To Win

To make lasting changes, it takes a team of like minded and committed individuals consistently confronting the most pressing issues facing employees every single day.  If you want to improve safety performance, build a team.  A team approach to safety gets more people engaged in the process.  Safety teams can create solutions that become exercises in employee engagement and empowerment instead of the usual top down do-it-because-the boss-says-so activity.

Valerie Albert
Author: Valerie Albert