3 Reasons Safety Leadership Matters For Employees

Front-line employees can have leadership abilities without having a title.

happy02.jpgCall it a pet peeve but please stop using the word leadership to describe management. We have all worked for a manager who had no leadership skills. You don’t call those people your leader. You call them your boss. Leadership and management have little to do with each other. Besides, front-line employees can have leadership abilities too - without having a title.

You don’t have to be in management to be a leader. Besides, peer-leadership is sometimes far more effective when it comes to getting fellow employees to safety-up. Positive safety peer-pressure can make work-sites more safety-conscious than management intervention.

Safety certification and titles don’t make you a leader. Position doesn’t make you a leader. That’s good news for front-line employees. There’s no monopoly on leadership. Employees can be leaders just as easily as anyone else. It's influence, demeanor, conscientiousness and selflessness that makes leaders. Leadership is a mindset - how you approach your role in the world. Leadership, natural leadership, doesn’t need courses or schooling. Leadership is not something you get in exchange for money.

Employees make decisions daily that are either in alignment or out of alignment with the safety program. You can be a leader in your own life in safety - or you can take your orders from the boss.

Here are three reasons why employees should embrace personal leadership and take control of looking out for their own safety:

1Reduce Conflict. This has nothing to do with avoiding a bar fight. This is everything to do with getting your boss off your back. Everyone hates being told what to do. Your boss tells you what to do when the decisions you make conflict with the safety program. When you do something outside of safety, you make it clear that you do not accept safety as one of your guiding principles. That means, your boss (or the safety person) is going to crawl all over you until you do it the right way; the safe way. Once you buy-in to safety as one of your personal values, your decisions align with the safety processes. Once you buy-in, you stop getting yelled at, singled-out, chastised and scolded. Then you don’t hate your boss as much and your dinnertime conversations stop being so negative. No one ever yells at you for doing the right thing.

2Increase Job Security. Safety managers and supervisors are responsible for the safety record. That means they track the numbers. What the numbers can divulge is safety performance by department, work crew and even down to the actual employee. Numbers can highlight where there are higher rates of incidents and near-misses. Management reports show which employees are easy to work with and also those who are difficult to work with. No one wants to keep working with an employee who is hard to get along with, creates conflict and takes unnecessary risk. Nor do they want to work with someone who contributes, either directly or indirectly, to higher incident numbers. If you want to keep working, make it easy for the company to keep you working. No one wants to lose a valued employee who makes good decisions, keeps others safe and who does an excellent job.

3Get A Raise Or Promotion. What boss would ever recommend that an employee who takes unnecessary risks get a raise in pay? Employees who ignore safety procedures don't get promoted. People who buck the system don't get promoted. To get promoted, your values have to align with the company’s values - especially in safety. The most intense safety regulations in history are in the workplace today. People who follow the rules get promoted to a position of trust. Team players get promoted. To get promoted, prove your leadership ability. Convince others, or at least guide them, to making the right choices on the job. The people who get promoted are the example for others to follow.

New Call-to-action You wouldn't want to hurt a co-worker. You would want them to be safe. You'd want them to make the right decisions if you were the boss. Well, you get to make those decisions for yourself. Be in charge.

Safety is the thing that connects your personal cash-flow, your long-term investments, your family security and your legacy. Any choice outside of safety means you are willing to allow chance to determine your legacy. So, purposely choose safety. It will keep you healthy, prosperous and secure. Be a leader in your own life. Choose to be a safety leader. You will inspire others to be the same.

Kevin Burns gives engaging, entertaining and inspiring speeches to front-line employees at safety meetings. He also works with supervisors and safety managers on-site or in keynote presentations at conferences. He is an expert in how to get through to people. Kevin helps organizations integrate caring for and valuing employees through their safety programs. Kevin Burns is a management consultant, safety speaker and author of "The Perfect Safety Meeting" and "Running With Scissors - 10 Reasons To Invest in Safety In Slow Times."

(c) Can Stock Photo

Topics: safety leadership, kevin burns, safety culture