Safety leadership is just like regular leadership - only these ones buy-in to safety as a personal value.
There is a difference between simple safety compliance and becoming an active safety leader. As I’ve mentioned in the past, leadership in safety has nothing to do with management. You don’t have to be in management to be a safety leader, mentor or influencer. All that is required is a commitment to wanting to embrace safety as a personal value and to be willing to not allow the shortcuts, risky behaviors or condemnation of safety of others to influence your choices.
The better you get as a person, the better you will become as a person of influence on your job site - a leader. And you can become that person in fifteen minutes a day.
14.4 minutes in an eight-hour work day amounts to three percent of your day. Let's call it fifteen minutes - a coffee break. If you were to take that 15 minutes each day to learn something that made you a better communicator, motivator, mentor or leader in safety, then you would put yourself in a position to be more effective all around. Effective leaders become attractive to not only their own higher-ups and senior managers but to the senior managers of other companies. The better you get as a safety leader, the more opportunities are likely to unfold themselves to you.
Here’s why making that three percent difference daily is important:
“It is not the safety manual that inspires workers to want to be better. It’s the person who is the example of safety leadership and whom others look up to.” - Kevin Burns
Take fifteen minutes today to simply become a leader. Here are three things you can do today to begin increasing your personal value and your personal leadership capacity in safety:
1Get active at safety meetings. Take notes, participate in the discussions, get vocal, volunteer to be a part of the safety meeting, get noticed for your enthusiasm. People who get noticed for the right reasons get recognized. Those who get recognized get promoted and get more opportunities than those who begrudgingly comply with the bare minimum in safety.
2Read a book that makes you better. A quarter of all Americans did not read a single book last year (is that including you?). Learn something today that you didn’t know yesterday about communication, coaching, mentoring, leading or something else that makes you more effective. You don't have to read the whole book in one sitting, just one chapter - 15 minutes. Studies indicate that people who read more, earn more. Simple huh? If you want to be in a position to make more money and have more influence, you must read more.
3Find someone who is already a person of influence. It doesn’t have to be someone you work with. It only needs to be someone who is willing to commit to self-improvement and who is willing to hold your feet to the fire. Attend networking functions where leaders gather (business networking groups). There will be plenty of others who are willing to help you with leadership skills. Attend the personal development seminars, enroll in Toastmasters or join a service club. You’ll be surprised how quickly your influence deepens by being around people who are already leading.
Safety leaders are just like regular leaders - only they buy-in to safety and have made a decision to be around a long, long time. Then they line up their decisions to ensure their own safety and security, the safety and security of their loved ones and also of those they work with.
People will care about safety when they know how much you care about them. Safety leaders have a plan and don’t simply respond to crisis after crisis. You should be in the planning stages of your January safety meetings right now. Kick off a new year of safety with a presentation on safety leadership attitude. Book your dates now. Call me or click “get Kevin.”