When you think about what makes a great leader, there may be a few specific characteristics and personality traits that stand out for you. You may even be imagining one particular leadership style without even realizing it. But there are many different approaches to leadership that can all be equally effective, so how do you know which will work best for your safety culture?
The answer is simple: any strong leaders that you have can be great safety leaders—it just takes a personal commitment to the company’s culture.
Every employee is unique, so not every person will fit exactly into a mold for their leadership style. This means that there is an infinite number of ways to lead (and to lead well). We’ll discuss just a few of the main types of leaders, though, to give you a general idea of what you may be working with.
These 3 leadership styles can be applied to your safety culture to make a positive impact:
1. Independent Leaders
These are the leaders who may be tough to spot within your workforce. Independent leaders can work independently while still setting a great example for everyone around. This doesn’t mean that teamwork isn’t a good option for them; it just means that a large group isn’t necessary for independent leaders’ success.
With this style we can see that the more traditional views of leadership aren’t the only options. Leaders don’t have to be extroverted, charismatic, or particularly vocal—in fact, they can be rather quiet and reserved while still maintaining a solid leadership role. This really emphasizes the point that actions speak louder than words.
Independent leaders value the company’s safety culture, set a good example in the workplace, help others when needed, and they really shine when it matters.
2. Team Leaders
Team leaders are all about cooperation and teamwork. These are usually your motivators—the ones directly engaging other employees around them and working toward solid team efforts. Team leaders thrive when others are willing to step up and continue the conversation.
These leaders are usually the most noticeable in the workplace and the ones who receive the most recognition. Collaboration is key here. Often, these types of leaders form partnerships and play off each other’s strengths to solve problems and positively effect change. Since a safety culture needs employees working together toward a common goal, team leaders are a great asset in encouraging safety as a team effort.
3. Democratic Leaders
Democratic leaders can be described as a good mix of independent leaders and team leaders. These employees can work alone and make decisions independently, but they feel more confident in their decisions when the whole team is involved. Perhaps the most versatile of these three leadership styles, democratic leaders tend to make great communicators. Communication is vital when the whole team’s input is being considered.
No matter which type(s) of leaders you find within your team, you can rest assured that all of these can positively impact your safety culture. The most important thing is that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same safety goals—and awesome safety leaders can make this happen!