If you’re reading this blog, you undoubtedly know that the internet is full of amazing resources. Just think about it: you’re online reading about safety leadership with minimal effort and time. Who’d have thought just a few decades ago that so much content could be shared so easily?
One of my favorite types of content to browse and share is the GIF—a short, animated image that usually references some of my favorite fictional characters and celebrities. I’ve had entire conversations with friends by just sending GIFs back and forth (yes, I’m a millennial).
So, what’s my point here? I want to talk about safety leadership by using some pretty relatable GIFs. Why? Because it’s the internet, and because reading can be so much more entertaining and memorable when you get to enjoy sassy characters throughout. Without further ado, let’s explore how strong leadership affects safety in the workplace (with GIFs, of course).
Great leadership knows a thing or two about accountability. They take responsibility for their actions and, when necessary, for the actions of their team. You can hold them to their word and you can trust that they’ll deliver.
By integrating strong leaders into your safety culture, you’re ensuring that there’s always someone looking out for everyone else and stepping up to the plate when it’s most important. An increase in this awareness and accountability can increase your company’s overall safety and decrease incident rates.
Leaders who can provide thorough feedback are extremely valuable to your safety efforts. As with any kind of learning, safety concepts are understood, retained, and applied best when there is some indicator of success or a method of reinforcement.
This just means that you need to explain the reasoning behind policies and react to practices that you see in the workplace. When something is being done well, provide feedback. When something needs improvement, provide feedback. When new ideas emerge, provide feedback. See a pattern?
You can’t expect that employees will join your team with some kind of preset safety values. In a safety manager’s ideal world, maybe they would. In the real world, your team members will likely need a set of standards and values to keep in mind.
Remember, values are not the same as rules. Awesome safety leaders will help to emphasize and promote these values daily so that the company’s safety ideals are always apparent. It’s not enough to enforce rules; you need to share the company’s commitment to the safety culture in order to make a real impact.
Communication will always be one of the most important skills involved in your safety culture. Nothing else can truly succeed without some way of conveying messages, right? Your team’s safety leaders should know that open communication plays a vital role.
Every single day, safety is affected by communication—whether a lack of communication or a really productive conversation. Your employees’ safety depends on leaders knowing when and how to communicate the most important messages.
Leading is difficult from a distance. The most effective safety leaders understand that actual on-the-job experience is the most impactful way to teach and learn. You can’t learn about employees and their struggles, concerns, and experiences if you don’t talk to them and work with them.
By being present in the workplace, leaders can increase awareness and reinforce safety values. It’s tough to do that from a remote office or a computer. Field presence is the best way to set a good example and to just be available for guidance.
Now that you have a good sense of how strong leadership affects safety in the workplace, what kinds of changes can you make to benefit your company’s safety culture? Are your safety leaders equipped to promote that culture and create a safer environment for everyone? Subscribe to our blog to get tons of great tips on improving safety in your workplace today.