Have you, as a leader, established a culture of safety in the workplace?
Leadership is not a position.
It is an attitude – management is the position.
One has nothing to do with the other.
Safety, too, is an attitude.
What is a culture of safety?
A culture of safety is a state of mind and a way of living your life. Safety is the result. Safety is the choice in every moment of every day.
Those with a safety leadership attitude who promote a culture of safety will choose to do the job safely in every moment.
Companies are waking up to the fact that people who blindly follow orders on a job site still get hurt. But safety leaders who choose safety in every moment save themselves from harm by the choices they make.
In the workplace, a culture of safety is quickly becoming a coveted element in any organization.
Developing a culture of safety
Here are the 7 cultural traits an organization with a culture of safety performers will possess:
This comes wrapped in accountability and responsibility.
Any attempt to deflect accountability negates honesty. Honesty is the trait that allows leaders to be vulnerable and accept that they don’t know everything. You can fix what you don’t know, but you can’t fix what you cover-up. Honesty is a willingness to be who you are and make no excuses for it. Values and core beliefs are tied to honesty.
One of those core beliefs will be promoting a culture of safety and self-preservation.
Want to talk more about honesty? Please take a look at this post, where I discuss moral courage as a leadership characteristic.
This is the key to keeping yourself and others safe on a job site.
If no one is talking, then no one is listening. When no one is listening, instructions get missed, and people get hurt. Communication doesn’t happen by scolding or by lectures. People don’t respond well to scolding and being lectured. Communication involves conversation. People engage themselves in conversation.
When they are engaged, they are paying attention.
For more on communicating with your people, take a look at how to Improve Your Conversations By Not Talking – 3 Tips You Can Start Using Today.
Anyone working without it is a prime candidate to get hurt. Some work is simply intimidating. And when a worker lacks confidence in performing the job, others are put at risk. When a worker is continuously scolded, they will lose their trust.
Lack of confidence is a distraction.
Setbacks happen on every job site. When a setback occurs, people turn to those who display confidence and an “I’ve got this” attitude–all commitment to a culture of safety.
It’s perhaps the most contagious of all traits.
Working alongside those without the commitment to the job is tenuous. Knowing that a co-worker could quit at any moment leaves workers unsure and confidence on the job site wanes.
But when you are surrounded by those who have a deep-seated commitment to the job, it brings a sense of peace and sureness about doing the job safely. Commitment means to focus, and when workers are focused, they will act safely.
Regardless of whatever adversity you may face, your attitude is critical.
A positive attitude is what turns someone’s debilitating roadblock into a temporary setback that is easily overcome. People focused on the worst attract the worst. People who can find the silver lining will emerge as victors. They see what needs doing and take action instead of wallowing in fear. A positive, supportive worksite tends to attract those who will contribute to it.
Speaking of positivity, here are three 3-minute articles to discuss with your team to create a lifetime of positive change (for everyone).
When you are plugged into your surroundings, you can see what is coming and prepare for it.
There is a quiet confidence in merely “knowing” what is about to happen. You can prepare yourself and those around you. You can address issues before they become issues. The tough decisions are easy to decide when you can depend on your gut instinct for answers.
Learning to trust yourself is as essential as your team learning to trust you.
Sense of Humour
There is no reason safety can’t be fun.
The benefits of being safe are happy and joyful. So why can’t we laugh on the job site?
There is little reason to laugh when you don’t feel confident, lack commitment, or frequently face safety issues. But when you and your workmates have a sense of self, have confidence, excellent communication, and a great attitude, there’s no reason that you can’t have fun at work.
Humour allows people to settle into their work comfortably.
Establishing a culture of safety is the new Leadership.
Start by looking for these seven traits in yourself and your teammates.
And if you want to talk about Leadership and a culture of safety at your next safety meeting, I can help.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check these out, too:
5 Steps You Can Use To Build a “First Team” Mindset
80% Of Projects Fail Because Of ‘People’ Issues … Here Are 6 Things You Can Do To Reduce That Risk
People Pleasing Leaders & Soup Sandwiches – 5 Messes You Make When You Try to Make Everyone Happy
This article was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated.