September 2020

Improving Safety Leadership Through Self-Monitoring

Improving Safety Leadership Through Self-Monitoring

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Self-monitoring is key factor affecting the human dynamics of occupational safety. It’s defined as
one’s motivation and ability to interpret social cues from the environment and respond to those cues in a socially desirable way. Low self-monitors act similarly regardless of the occasion; high self-monitors alter their behavior effectively to fit the particular situation (Snyder, 1974). This has also been referred to as the “if-then behavioral signature” (Geller, 2008).

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Soft Skills Training for Leaders: An Investment in Your Culture

Soft Skills Training for Leaders

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Soft skills training is needed at all leadership levels to improve communication, listening skills, and empathy. It also involves increasing the quality and quantity of safety recognition which is often found to be one of the lower scoring items on our safety culture survey. Increasing recognition improves safety culture and increases the probability of safe work practices in the future. This reduces the risk of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs).

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Give them voice and listen: The power of pulse surveys

The power of pulse surveys

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Employees want an active voice in your company, and leadership should be interested in what they have to say. The people are the culture, and it is in the best interest of leadership to know their perspective. Because it is often difficult to touch base with every employee, organizational surveys are a great way to listen more efficiently.

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Executives – Have you thought about your wellbeing lately?

Executives – Have you thought about your wellbeing lately


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

It is common to assume that executives, CEOs, and highly successful entrepreneurs just ‘have it all’, but many of these individuals are silently suffering. Executives can have a lot on their plate. They might feel responsible for the ups and downs of employees. They might work long hours and feel pressure to make the company more successful. They also can feel very isolated, like they can’t be vulnerable without looking weak.

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Get Employee Input… and Close the Loop

Get Employee Input and Close the Loop


By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Leaders need to get more input from employees before making decisions that impact safety.
Better decisions are made when employee input is solicited. Participation rates are also higher. Years ago, we implemented a behavioral safety process in a manufacturing firm as part of a NIOSH grant. Half of the group designed their own card and rules for use (“participation group” ). The other half were given a card with instructions to follow (“compliance group” ). The participation group that designed their own process completed 7 times as many observations as the passive compliance group. In another organization, field employees were heavily consulted when revamping their pre-job brief meetings. During assessment activities, we were told that a) the process got much better, and b) people really appreciated leadership getting their input. This is good for safety and morale.

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Safety Role Modeling 101

Safety Role Modeling 101

By Brie DeLisi

“Leadership doesn’t walk the talk” is one of the most common complaints we hear from employees during assessments with organizations that have less mature safety cultures. Many leaders need to understand a couple critical components of their culture if they want to improve safety:
1. Employees are always watching.
2. Actions speak louder than words.
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3 Ways Leaders Can Grow their Brand and Shape Company Culture to Impact Business Outcomes

Culture change


By KyoungHee Choi

While culture is widely recognized as an important lever to grow brands, increase productivity, improve revenue while improving safety and customer experience outcomes, many organizations still find to drive an manage something that feels intangible. In challenging times, it may seem hard to invest time and resources into something that can’t easily be measured, like “company culture”. Especially when the very survival of your company itself is at stake. However, culture is far more than an abstraction. It is critical to bringing your values to life and to driving business success. In challenging times it’s even more important to invest in what makes you different in the marketplace.
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Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace

Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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How to develop a growth mindset

How to develop a growth mindset


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Changing how we think can have a profound impact on our life at home and work. Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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The role of feedback in a flex work model

The role of feedback in a flex work model


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Feedback is one of the most important resources at work. It can be used to energize people, fuel their growth, guide them in the right direction, inform future behavior, clarify expectations, and help them to attain goals. Thus, it is central to motivation, performance, and even workplace safety (1,2). As the world is embracing remote work more than ever, many fear this will be associated with a lack of feedback when compared to the typical face-to-face workplace. This is a reasonable concern! A great deal of informal feedback is exchanged within an office environment. For instance, you might be accustomed to an impromptu huddle in the hallway after a meeting to discuss what went well and what did not. You also might be missing those “water cooler conversations” with your boss. All of these feedback components should still continue in a remote setting. In fact, researchers have shown that more frequent feedback in virtual teams is associated with higher motivation, satisfaction, performance, and learning (3, 4).

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Motivating remote workers

Motivating remote workers


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

A team of researchers recruited 1135 participants to take place in a study that collected information on their work experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic over time. The data collection began in April of 2020 and will continue to run for 6 months. Initial findings were recently shared by the researchers (1). Among many results, the researchers uncovered that managers are feeling uncertain about employee motivation in a remote work setting — 41% of managers agreed with the statement “I am skeptical as to whether remote workers can stay motivated in the long term” and 17% were unsure.

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How to make your job more satisfying: Lessons from job crafting

Lessons from job crafting


Madison Hanscom, PhD

Sometimes work isn’t motivating. Many individuals feel dispassionate toward their job — finding it monotonous, boring, frustrating, or exhausting. Common suggestions for individuals who are unhappy with their job are to “find happiness outside of work” or “go get a new job” … but are these recommendations realistic? We spend a large portion of our lives working, so shouldn’t we at least enjoy it?
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Self-Motivation Styles of Effective Safety Leaders

Self Motivation Styles of Effective Safety Leaders

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Effective safety leaders have self-motivation styles which help them accomplish organizational goals. Four self-motivation styles (Steers & Porter, 1991) are relevant for understanding the self-motivation of safety leaders.
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Teach your people how to fish

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD

What does the proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” have to do with being a great leader? In short, it allows followers to be more self-reliant. As a result, employees will enjoy more autonomy in their job, potentially experience more meaning in their work, and it allows the leader to find better balance in their own time.

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Benefits to Limiting Social Media Use

Benefits to Limiting Social Media Use

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Social media is everywhere. Good luck finding someone who doesn’t spend time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube — you name it. But how does this impact our wellbeing? This is becoming a very important question. With more people social distancing and working remotely, many individuals are turning to social media for entertainment.

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Using the “High Six” to Improve Leadership Skills

Using the High Six to Improve Leadership Skills


Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Psychologists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnosing mental and personality disorders. This classification and diagnostic tool identifies issues that disrupt people’s ability to maintain relationships, achieve goals, and experience fulfillment.
But what about a tool to diagnose and identify success and contentment?

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What goes around, comes back around? Virtual leadership and micromanaging

Virtual leadership and micromanaging


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to leading a virtual or flex workforce, trust is everything. Managers are struggling with new ways of leading — including the delicate balance between giving enough direction without micromanaging. When leaders are accustomed to seeing employees in an office every day, it can be difficult adjusting to an arrangement that has less observational opportunities. In a flexible work model, it is not as easy to closely monitor due to physical proximity, but some leaders adjust well by embracing the opportunity to give people more autonomy. Other leaders do not adjust as well and try to closely monitor employees in ways that can quickly feel like an invasion of privacy (i.e., watching through webcams to ensure employees are working).

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Promoting a Learning Culture in Challenging Environments

Promoting a Learning Culture in Challenging Environments


By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Creating and sustaining a “learning culture” is critical for optimal safety culture and performance. Unfortunately, this can be challenging with organizations that have a history of “old school” cultures. In other cases, new leaders may legitimately need to establish a baseline of accountability to clean up messes created by overly lenient past practices. Overly lenient cultures often result in “looking the other way” and increased risk-taking behavior.
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