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Safety Leadership

By Eduardo Lan In my work as a safety culture and leadership consultant with Propulo Consulting, I often hear clients complain about how busy people are with meetings and paperwork and how little time they have for other things, such as getting out in the field. In this complex and fast-paced world of ours, it is normal to feel like this. At times, it seems like the number of emails, meetings, deadlines, and projects people are responsible for is never-ending. Dealing with it is a fact of life. However, there are things we can do to prioritize and act on what

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Effective communication is a cornerstone of strong safety cultures. Leaders who provide safety feedback with empathy and respect create a true learning culture centered on trust. Unfortunately, some leaders develop maladaptive communication patterns which weaken their leadership skills. Four key communication patterns for leaders are explained below. Only one, empathic communication, is ideal. Dominant Communication Style The Dominant communication style is characterized by overbearing, inconsiderate feedback. Dominant communicators often believe: “I am seldom if ever wrong,” “My opinions supersede yours,” and “People who disagree with me are either disloyal or misinformed.” These beliefs lead to these negative behaviors from

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By Eduardo Lan Leaders play a crucial role in the success of an organization. It is they who set the standard for what is acceptable and desirable within the group and the criteria by which you can get promoted or fired. As such, team members look to their leaders to gauge expected behavior. As the saying goes, “that which my boss finds interesting, I find fascinating.” Unfortunately, these expectations are not always clear, leaving team members confused and guessing. According to a Gallup study, 50% of managers don’t set clear expectations, which ultimately has a negative impact on productivity and results (Holland,

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Football coaches like the Patriots’ Bill Belichick make more than $10M per year trying to guide their teams to an NFL championship. Ridiculous sums of money? Maybe. But there are lessons learned from elite coaches that can be applied to safety culture improvement.   Coaches spend countless hours preparing their weekly game plans. This includes reviewing past game tape to identify strengths and shore up weaknesses and properly preparing for next week’s opponent. It’s an ongoing process of performance review, planning, execution, and re-evaluation.  Safety culture assessments and strategic planning are similar processes (minus the game tape and weekly schedules).

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By Eduardo Lan Many organizations seek world-class safety performance, which is the result of robust safety systems, effective safety leadership, and a safety culture that elevates individual safety awareness, accountability, and ownership. An important part of this, particularly as it pertains to safety leadership, has to do with both psychological safety and straight talk. Defined by Simon Sinek, “as an environment created by leaders in which people feel safe enough to speak up without any fear of humiliation or retribution (Sinek, 2021),” psychological safety is brought about through caring leadership. Psychological Safety Unleashes Discretionary Effort When we feel safe with others, particularly our leaders, we let our guard

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By Eduardo Lan Safety moments are quite common in organizations with an established safety program. These begin some meetings with the intent of focusing on safety, elevating its importance and ownership. Usually, a recent safety incident is reviewed, statistics are shown, or a general message around safety is presented. Unfortunately, these safety moments don´t always generate the level of engagement required to make them meaningful, wasting a precious chance to drive the desired safety culture and sometimes even diminishing its importance in the minds of those attending. Call to Action: To elevate the importance and ownership of safety, we must involve people in a

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