Create a Safe Environment | FOW #6

Safety requires accountability, awareness, and diligence.  Never take shortcuts that compromise your or others’ safety. Performance thrives in a safe environment

You may think this blog is not for you.

If you work in an office environment, you might easily think workplace safety pertains solely to physical safety; your office has no heavy machinery, forklifts or clearly contagious employees, so it must be safe, right?

Not necessarily.

It is a leader’s responsibility to create and maintain an environment safe from not only physical harm and illnesses but also from bullying and sexual harassment.
As we discuss in coaching high performing individuals and teams, it is vital that management create a culture in which individuals feel safe giving voice to their opinions, goals, and concerns, in a constructive and supportive environment.

An integral part of that environment is the safety to fail.

In Albert Einstein’s words, “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”. To achieve the standards of excellence and innovation necessary for a successful business, you need to have new ideas contributed from all departments – for new and/or better products, services, processes, standards, and practices.

If people are pilloried for suggesting new ideas which end up failing, those new ideas will quickly stop coming…or go to the competition!

Harassment can take many forms

Sexual harassment has been in the news quite a bit lately, but harassment can take many forms. Individuals may be discriminated against, marginalized or manipulated based on their gender, appearance, ethnicity, sexual orientation, handicaps or any number of personal characteristics which have nothing to do with their jobs.

Accountability for an unsafe workplace starts at the top, and it is management’s responsibility to ensure that accountability for a safe environment is understood and practiced at every level.

Education across the company should be institutionalized and practiced on a regular basis to maintain awareness of what unsafe behavior looks like, how to avoid it and what to do about it if it does occur. As evidenced by rolling heads at multiple high-profile companies recently, upper management is accountable for unsafe behavior, even if they personally do not engage in it.

Trust, collaboration, innovation and, ultimately, success can only exist in a safe environment.

 

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