Blog Series: Five Core Safe Production Leadership Competencies that Drive Safe Production Culture
By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams, Ph.D.
In today’s increasingly complex workplace, organizational leaders must be equipped to effectively deal with the relentless demands of daily decisions, challenges, and opportunities that impact all aspects of business, including safety. It is increasingly important to make intelligent decisions for safety in order to advance safety culture and prevent serious injuries and fatalities at work.
Anchored in years of research and science, our team has identified five core competencies to optimize safety culture: Active Care, Walk the Talk, Build/Live the Vision; Recognize Often/Foster Growth, and Drive Thinking and Speaking. Leaders who master these skills more effectively spearhead safety improvement efforts and achieve more safety success.
In this new blog series, we share guidance for building these factors. Below we share a brief explanation of each competency and include links to deeper dive blog posts about each one.
1. Actively Care
Leaders exhibit Active Caring by showing personal concern and respect for employees, being open and receptive with others, and by practicing empathy, compassion, and humility. Developing Active Caring habits and practices improves safety culture.
2. Walk the Talk
Leaders Walk the Talk for safety by role modelling positive safety behaviors, spending time out in the field with employees, providing respectful safety coaching, and demonstrating integrity and commitment to safety. Leaders who effectively “walk the talk” create improved safety culture, morale, and trust with employees.
3. Build and Live the Vision
Leaders Build and Live the Vision by clearly defining the vision for desired safety performance, living these values themselves, demonstrating the vision in daily interactions, and sharing the vision in a compelling way. Effective leaders should build and live the vision on a day-to-day basis.
4. Recognize and Foster Growth
Leaders should Recognize and Foster Growth by showing genuine appreciation for employees, investing in team grown, and providing more recognition for desired safety behaviors. Leaders who regularly recognize employees and facilitate growth increase discretionary effort and improve organizational safety culture.
5. Drive Thinking and Speaking
Leaders Drive Thinking and Speaking by creating an environment of psychological safety, getting employee input for safety solutions, encouraging system thinking, and reinforcing teamwork and collaboration. Leaders who effectively create this environment increase employee engagement and decrease the likelihood of serious injuries and fatalities.
These five core safety leadership competencies should be understood and put into daily practice to improve safe production culture. Injury numbers drop and culture improves when leaders’ attitudes and behaviors are directed to increase active care, walking the talk, living the vision, providing recognition/growth and driving more thinking/speaking.
At Propulo, we work with leaders to develop micro-habits associated with effective leadership behaviors. We can help your company make safety “who we are” instead of “something we do.”