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Operational Leadership

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Decades of research show that IQ is one of the best predictors of success for organizational leaders. This should be no surprise since strong analytical skills are needed to deal with numerous competing challenges at higher organizational levels. However, EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient, may be equally important. One study showed that 71% of executives value EQ over IQ with their leaders (https://www.careerbuilder.ca), and another showed that 93% of employees said they’d remain loyal to an employer whose leaders show genuine concern for their well-being (https://hcamag.com). So, what is emotional intelligence? EQ reflects our ability to recognize our

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Last week, the G.O.A.T. of college football coaches, Nick Saban, retired as the head football coach at Alabama. Whether or not you’re a fan of Saban (or the Crimson Tide), it’s clear that he is truly the greatest of all time. Saban had an 88% winning percentage at Alabama in the toughest conference in college football. He also won 7 national championships, more than any other college coach in history. In paying tribute to Saban, it’s important to understand that great leadership takes many forms. Lessons learned from sports apply to the world of safety. It takes

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Increasing leadership ownership and engagement is critical for safety performance and safety culture improvement. EHS groups should support and partner with operational leaders but should NOT be the sole owners of safety. Here are a few guidelines for improving operational leadership support of safety. Minimize Blame Safety-related shortcuts or risky actions are involved in most incidents. However, these actions are almost always influenced by system factors like excessive production pressure, unavailable tools/equipment, insufficient manpower, ineffective training, confusing/incomplete procedures etc. Leaders need to maintain accountability but also improve system factors when gaps are identified. The first question when someone

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. As the poet Alexander Pope famously wrote, “to error is human.” This is especially true in work environments where people have done a particular job for many years. They may get complacent. Basically, employees start to operate on autopilot despite a myriad of hazards around them, especially if they go years without getting hurt. This is compounded when a large group of employees and field leaders become desensitized to the risks around them. Unfortunately, serious injuries and fatalities often serve as the wakeup call to remain ever vigilant about safety on the job.   The 2-minute rule encourages employees

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By Eduardo Lan As a safety leadership and culture consultant with Propulo Consulting, I am often asked by our clients to focus our efforts on the workforce to support them in shifting their safety mindset and behaviors. The logic behind this approach is based on the belief that changing how workers work will solve the problem. This approach is useful, but doesn’t always work long term, particularly if workers’ actions and behaviors are being driven by external forces, such as organizational culture, systems, and leadership.  Building a worldclass safety culture has everything to do with how leaders show up and choose to lead. It is leaders

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By Eric Michrowski At the end of the day, every operation needs to deliver a product or service at a certain cost and quality level in order for the business to succeed. Improvements in productivity have a direct impact on the ultimate success of a business. The flip side is that most incidents tend to happen because of unsafe shortcuts due to the pressure of meeting customer or productivity needs. So what is the solution? It’s not about choosing between productivity and safety. Instead, it’s about creating a solid balance where people drive results and continuous improvement but don’t feel pressured to

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