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4 Tips To Be A Better Supervisor or Safety Person

The quality of your work as a supervisor or safety person is tied directly to the kind of person you are.

Supervisor06.jpgManagement is key to the success of any organization - especially in safety performance. After you hire the right people and you train them, how you manage them will determine your success. No company ever achieved great success with mediocre management.

Front-line is where the real work gets done.

Front-line supervisory is one of the most important positions within an organization. You either make or break your safety culture reputation at this level. If it fails at the front-line, it fails all the way up the chain of command. Front-line is where the real work gets done.

Before get to the four tips to be a better supervisor, if you'd like to get started on improving your ability to lead your team, then take the Free Preview of the Safety Communications & Coaching for Supervisors course. 40-minutes of video instruction, summary sheet download PDFs and a companion MP3 audio version to take with you on the go. And it's free to get started.

Here are 4 tips and strategies to help front-line supervisors and safety people be better and more effective at the job:

New call-to-action1. Become exceptional at communication. Research says that 50-80% of a supervisor's time is spent communicating. For front-line safety people it’s all they really do. Great communication skills are not just a requirement, it is the basis of the job. You have to communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings and frustrations. People’s lives depend on how well you can communicate a message. And the first place to go to work is in how you listen.

Great communication skills are the basis of the job.

People don’t listen to understand. They listen to respond. When someone is speaking to you, you are formulating your response - as they are still speaking. You’re missing some of what they are saying. When receiving information from a team member, get it right. Ask them to repeat it again if necessary. Then, remember that when you’re talking, others are likely formulating their response. Make sure they not only hear, but fully understand. Ask again if necessary.

2. Value your fellow workers. It’s called people-view. How you view people will determine how you treat them. Your fellow co-workers are any supervisor’s real asset. They are ones running the business and the work. They are the one’s getting the job done and either making the supervisor look good or look like a buffoon. Safety people can take a note here.

Good supervisors understand the worth of good people.

A safety person who believes that everyone is looking for a shortcut in safety won’t value their co-workers. But if you believe that you work with good people, with good families who build good communities, then you will view yours as exceptional people. You will value them and treat them like valued members of the team. Good supervisors and safety people understand the worth of good people. They treat them accordingly.

3. Be approachable. Smugness, arrogance, superiority and self-centeredness do not make you approachable. They push people away. Push people away and you turn over staff. You cannot make people feel valued when you assert your authority and your position. Supervisors, there is no job for you without front-line staff. Without front-line workers, you don’t need safety people either.

Approachability improves your leadership capacity.

The relationship between employee and supervisor or safety person is a symbiotic one. You coexist together. So be approachable. Let people ask you questions and engage you in conversation and get to know you. Approachability improves your leadership capacity. When you are approachable you build trust and mutual respect. Employees should not hesitate in approaching supervisors or safety people with concerns and questions. There must exist trust and openness between employees and supervisory.

New call-to-action4. Have a positive attitude. It’s astounding the number of people who simply do not see that they are not considered positive. Yet they believe themselves to be positive people. In your head you might think that as a supervisor or safety person you’re a positive person. But to everyone else, there’s a disconnect between what you see and what they see.

The best place to start to adjust your level of positive attitude is in how you present safety to your people. Are you still using those archaic threats of injury? Do you still use, gruesome photos and gut-wrenching videos? Are you still talking about the negative aspects of doing safety wrong? That’s not positive. Safety is not supposed to make you afraid. Safety shouldn’t churn your guts. Safety should arm you with tools and strategies to make good, confident decisions to better your life.

Positive safety is all about the positive outcomes.

Positive safety is all about the positive outcomes of security, family, community and teamwork. Take a look at the safety posters and the PowerPoint slides you utilize and get rid of the negative ones. Build a positive focus on safety. If you want to build a positive workplace, then you have to go first.

If you haven’t seen the relationship yet, let me explain it. Standoffish, negative, lousy communicators who believe themselves superior are the worst to work for. The quality of your work as a a supervisor or safety person is tied directly to the kind of person you are. Good people get good results from good people.

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Kevin Burns, consultant/author, works with smart, caring companies to energize safety culture, build teamwork, and get employee buy-in.

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