Fundamental of the weeK #6: CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

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

Last week we had the opportunity to work with a Canadian leadership team offsite for four days with the commitment to help them transform their culture. At the top of the list was safety.  I’m pretty sure we learned more about safety from them than they did from us. If we’re listening, sometimes our clients are our best teachers. Our job was to guide them in creating an environment where it is safe to speak up. We got there. And when we did, it was clearly evident that this is when real and highly valuable information gets exchanged. This includes acknowledging where we might be missing the mark with regards to our safety culture.

We were able to put things on the table and own up to where we haven’t driven accountability throughout the organization – at all levels. An authentic dialogue took place, which led to identifying key factors and initiatives that were not being fulfilled. Engaged leadership can have a significant impact on building and reinforcing a culture of safety. And this starts with encouraging the workforce to voice safety concerns without the fear of retaliation and then listening generously to what they have to say.

The following article connects the dots on how emotional and physical safety go hand in had: “The Impact of Transformational Leadership on Safety Climate and Individual Safety Behavior on Construction Sites” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The authors create a hypothesis for the value of transformational leadership versus transactional leadership when it comes to influencing a culture of safety.

“Transactional leadership emphasizes effective and efficient task organization and reliable task accomplishment, whereas transformational leadership focuses on inspiring the followers to transcend their own self-interests for the collective good through altering their need level on Maslow’s hierarchy. Transformational supervisors usually inspire their subordinates to transcend their personal interests with four influence tactics” … “Although there are many leadership styles, this paper chooses to examine the impact of transformational leadership on safety climate.”

To read more click here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295296/

So ask yourself, are you a transactional or transformational leader? Do you encourage those around you to speak up? And when they do, do you listen to what they have to say? How are you doing at creating a safe place where it’s not only okay, it’s required for people to voice their valid concerns, especially when it comes to theirs and others’ safety.

All my best,
Marlene