PeopleWork Blog - Strategies To Build Personal Leadership In Safety

Subscribe to Email Updates

6 Ways To Become A Respected Safety Leader

Posted by Kevin Burns

Aug 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

As a safety leader, more doors open, more options are available and the longer you are likely to live.

My Blog post, Safety Cop Or Safety Leader got a lot of traffic and created much discussion. Some safety people found themselves inadvertently standing on the wrong side of the conversation. But, as Dr. Phil says, you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.

To become a safety leader, you have to first understand what safety leadership is not: it is not safety management. Since there is no requirement to be in management to be a leader, then it only makes sense that you don’t have to be in safety management to be a safety leader.

Safety leadership is not just for those with a title. Safety leaders can be found on the front-lines too. They are willing to coach and inspire better safety performance through mosty, their example. You see, being a leader starts with being willing to go first. The first person to do something is the leader. Everyone else follows. But to go from safety person to safety leader, requires a mindset shift. 

So with that in mind, let's explore six mindset shifts that can cause you to become a better safety leader:

Read More

Topics: safety speaker, safety attitude, safety leadership, kevin burns, safety, safety management, safety buy-in, peoplework, safety mindset

7 Ways to Connect Safety to Leadership

Posted by Kevin Burns

Aug 9, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Safety is fast-becoming the new leadership.

Leadership has nothing to do with management. Safety leadership, therefore, has nothing to do with safety management. You don’t have to be in management to be a leader.

Leadership is not a position. It is an attitude - management is the position. One has nothing to do with the other. Safety too is an attitude. It is a state of mind and a way of living your life. Safety is the result. Safely is the choice in every moment of every day. Those with a safety leadership attitude, will choose to do the job safely in every moment.

Companies are waking up to the fact that people who blindly follow orders on a job site still get hurt. Helping people to connect with their own leadership abilities can help people to think more clearly on the job. It is for this reason that in the workplace, safety is fast-becoming the new leadership.

Read More

Topics: safety speaker, safety attitude, safety leadership, kevin burns, safety management, safety buy-in, safety communications, peoplework

3 Effective Strategies to Fix Boring Safety Meetings (Yes They Are)

Posted by Kevin Burns

Aug 2, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Safety meetings are not supposed to be boring. People, more specifically presenters, make them that way.

Talks from the TED conferences are engaging. If you are not familiar with TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), they are a global set of conferences that bring together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less.

Eighteen minutes or less.

Some of the world’s greatest thinkers will change the world with their ideas in under 18 minutes. So the question becomes, if world-class thinkers and thought leaders are only given eighteen minutes to make their point, have the learning stick and ultimately change the world, why are mediocre safety presenters given 60-90 minutes to make a point or two about safety? If issues like fighting world hunger and jumpstarting world economies can be addressed in 18 minutes, why are safety meetings running longer than that?

Safety complacency is a big problem today but never moreso than safety meeting complacency: the lack of focused engagement in preparing engaging safety meetings. The problems outlined below identify the real reasons safety meetings are traditionally so boring and what to do next.

Read More

Topics: safety speaker, safety leadership, kevin burns, safety meeting, safety, safety buy-in, safety manager, safety communications, peoplework, safety complacency, safety moment

3 Conversations to Influence Safety Buy-in

Posted by Kevin Burns

Jul 26, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The one thing that will connect continuous-cash-flow, long-term investments and legacy, is safety. Without safety, everything is at risk.

The safety department complains that it’s difficult to get workers to buy-in to safety. Employees resist buying-in to a program of checks, forms and paperwork. Especially the paperwork.

Safety meetings, rewards, recognition and paperwork are important. Indeed. Each plays a role in the safety culture-building plan. But to build a successful safety program requires a foundation of employee buy-in. Without it, you will be feeding the monster (spending large amounts of money) and never achieve the desired success.

To change that, go to Leadership 101; basic values-based conversations with employees. Coach employees to see that their own long-term goals and the company’s long-term goals are the same. The values are the same. Then, show them how safety is the tool that gets them from where they are (in the present) to where they want to be (in the future). Safety is the insurance to protect the future. 

Here are three compelling conversations for supervisors and safety people to have with their crews one-on-one. The purpose of these conversations is to influence better buy-in to safety:

Read More

Topics: safety speaker, safety leadership, kevin burns, safety culture, safety buy-in, selling safety, safety accountability, safety values, peoplework

4 Ways to Assess Your People-View In Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns

Jul 19, 2017 9:30:00 AM

People-View is how you talk about your crew to other supervisors or even your buddies behind the crew members' backs.

“Keep it simple and as short as possible. These guys don’t want a lot of information and they won’t remember most of it anyway. And don’t make it too complex or it’ll go right over their heads. And don’t give them too many breaks or they’ll take their time coming back. Some of them might even take off from the meeting. You can’t trust them. They’ll take a shortcut if they can find one.”

Is that the people-view for your crew? Is this how you talk about your crew to other supervisors or even your buddies behind the crew members' backs? Is that what you would say to an outside speaker or guest getting ready to address your people?

People-view is how you view people - specifically your people, your co-workers. People-view is the predetermined opinions you have about either the people you work with or those you do business with. That includes job site contractors and subcontractors.

Command-and-control is the default management style for supervisors and safety people who lack basic safety leadership skills. Chapter and verse from the rule book is easy because there is no arguing the rules. Supervisors and safety people, the unskilled ones, are quick to write up job site infractions. Like a cop at the side of the highway, they get compliance through enforcement and threat. They view everyone under them as potential law-breakers. You can’t build a relationship of trust and respect with a people-view like this.

If you think your people aren’t capable of grasping safety concepts, that will affect how you treat them. It will, more importantly, affect the relationship you have with them.

How do you view your crews and employees? Here are four self-test questions to help you identify your own people view:

Read More

Topics: safety speaker, safety leadership, kevin burns, safety culture, safety management, safety supervisor, peoplework

3 Areas to Make the Shift from Safety Process to People

Posted by Kevin Burns

Jul 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Safety people and supervisors who lack a healthy dose of willingness to engage crew members on a human level will limit both themselves and their crews.

Safety people and supervisors who lack a healthy dose of willingness to engage crew members on a human level will limit both themselves and their crews. It doesn’t happen on purpose, but it happens. The inexperienced supervisor who doesn’t know how to motivate and develop individuals on the job, ultimately has a harder time getting the job done. If there is no strategy to continuously improve employees, there’s little chance of improving the organization as a whole, and that includes safety.

Read More

Topics: safety speaker, safety leadership, kevin burns, safety culture, safety management, engagement, safety supervisor, peoplework

"Be Safe" Is A Terrible Safety Message

Posted by Kevin Burns

Jul 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Safety people and supervisors get concerned when their employees won't buy-in to safety. They also complain about employees' lack of engagement and a lack of accountability in the safety program. But what if the safety messaging is aimed below the intellect of the same people you're trying to reach? What if you've dumbed it down too far? What if you've underestimated your own people?

Communications that miss the target can undermine your efforts in safety. Generic slogans and feeble safety campaigns downloaded from the Internet do not resonate with most people (Hint: there's a reason they're free for the taking on the Internet). And people do not connect with anything that doesn't resonate with them. A slogan for a slogan’s sake can do more harm than good.

Generic safety messages are like an ill-fitting suit. Buy a suit off the rack and it looks like a cheap attempt to dress-up. But go to a tailor and have one built specifically for youy and you are willing to wear it proudly. The same too with a safety message. It has to fit perfectly, or your people won't wear it.

Read More

Topics: safety leadership, safety promotion, safety, safety buy-in, safety manager, selling safety, peoplework

3 Easy Steps To Improve Safety Meetings

Posted by Kevin Burns

Jun 28, 2017 9:30:00 AM

If you want to improve safety meetings, you have to improve the level of respect you have for your people first. 

Mark Cuban, television personality and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks once said, “Never take meetings unless someone is writing a check.” He might be onto something there. Safety people would make a bigger effort if they got paid for the quality of their safety meetings.

But that’s not happening anytime soon. So, for now, you will have to accept that safety meetings are notorious time killers. They usually start late, discuss too many topics, and end up running long. Poor planning combined with poor presentation skills make them difficult to endure.

If your people can’t wait to attend the next safety meeting, and are excited when it’s meeting day, then you’re doing it right. But that’s not you is it? So how about you invest a few minutes and give some consideration to some new ideas. Like a good safety meeting, it’ll be short and to the point.

Here are three easy steps that can transform your safety meetings from boring to engaging - and build respect:

Read More

Topics: safety leadership, kevin burns, safety meeting, the perfect safety meeting, safety engagement

The Biggest Roadblock to Safety Culture Improvement

Posted by Kevin Burns

Jun 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Lack of engagement is a problem in every corner of every organization. Safety has called this problem complacency.

Engagement is the biggest problem in the workplace today. The Gallup surveys tell us that 71% of employees are NOT actively engaged. You would think that a 71% level of disengagement would be cause for grave concern for companies. After all, poor safety performance and lost productivity creates a huge financial mess. Companies pay more and get less.

Read More

Topics: safety speaker, safety leadership, kevin burns, safety culture, peoplework, safety complacency

Top 4 Character Traits Of Respected Safety Leaders

Posted by Kevin Burns

Jun 14, 2017 9:11:00 AM

If you want to become an effective and respected safety leader, work on these personality traits.

Back in 2009, when Google first launched their Project Oxygen employee survey, they were looking for a way to help their managers be better. They were also looking for ways that managers and supervisors could help engage employees better.

Read More

Topics: safety leadership, kevin burns, safety culture, safety management, safety supervisor, peoplework

Subscribe to Email Updates

Get Kevin’s New Book
Now from Amazon!

In PeopleWork, Kevin Burns presents his M4 Method of people-centered management for safety. Practical, how-to steps that frontline supervisors and safety people can master to promote a relationship-based culture focused on mentoring, coaching, and inspiring teams.

Buy yours today!