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Your Next Ideal Supervisor Must Include These Traits

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 7, 2020 1:30:00 PM

A supervisor who cares about their team, cares about their safety.

A 20-year trades ticket or 20 years of job experience essentially becomes useless the moment a frontline employee becomes a supervisor. Not that 20-years of experience will no longer be needed, but largely a supervisor does not do the frontline work anymore.

They now supervise frontline work. And that requires a completely different skillset.

Effective supervisors need coaching skills, communications skills, people skills, management skills, leadership skills. Eighty percent of a supervisor’s day is spent coaching, communicating, managing, leading, and dealing with people.

So, when companies promote one of their frontline employees into a supervisory position, are they setting that supervisor up to win?

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Why do we expect they know what to do in safety?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Sep 30, 2020 1:14:00 PM

We promote frontline employees into supervisory positions without ensuring they have skills development in coaching, communications, safety, and empowerment. And then we expect that they will know exactly what to do?

Fifteen years ago, while awaiting a flight, I had a conversation with a frontline supervisor who was working at an oilsands site in Northern Alberta. John had a commanding presence with his loud, gravelly voice. He had been supervising a team of 16 for several years at that time. He was proud of the work he did and prouder of his team.

I have my electricians’ ticket, my plumber’s ticket, and a steamfitter’s ticket,” he beamed. “My dad always said to me that they can take your job, but they can never take your paper. As long as you have your paper, you can always land somewhere.

I tell my team to get paper for themselves. To become the best in their field because when you’re the best, you’re more valuable,” he smiled. “And I want my guys to not just be looked after, but to exceed me.

John also admitted that since becoming a supervisor, he didn’t use much of the knowledge gained from getting his tickets. He knew that the skills he needed most of all were good coaching skills, a caring demeanor, good communication skills, and a genuine desire to help his team exceed even his own skill-level.

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The Real Safety Influence

Posted by Kevin Burns on Sep 23, 2020 1:15:00 PM

As a safety person or senior manager, what keeps you up at night? Are you concerned that your current communication efforts aren't getting you the results you want? Are you worried that you should be training your people more, spending more time with them, guiding them, coaching them, motivating them, communicating with them, encouraging them? Are you worried that someone is going to make that one decision that does not end well? 

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Want to fix safety? Stop focusing on safety.

Posted by Kevin Burns on Sep 16, 2020 1:15:00 PM

The Safety Double-Down

When safety performance suffers, or complacency starts to sneak in, the typical response is to double-down on more safety. Increased attention on rules, procedures, meetings, reminders, inspections, audits. Maybe you see more generic safety posters, hear more safety shares, and sit through a video message from senior management.

It becomes pretty apparent that there is a push on for increased safety awareness.

And maybe it works … for a while. Then, life hits you: project deadlines, customer demands, production delays, weather issues, staffing problems. What is considered important (safety) gets nudged out of prime mindspace in favor of the urgent issues. And before long, you are back to dealing with the same safety performance issues you had before.

Traditional thinking has you convinced that you must double-down on safety. Except you don’t need more safety.

Instead, you need more people to buy-in to safety.

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Supervisors Are Key to Improving Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on May 21, 2020 1:15:00 PM

Front-line supervisors who find themselves thrust into the position without a lot of tools to get started can benefit greatly from Kevin's new online course, a year in the making, Safety Communications & Coaching for Supervisors.

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Processes Don't Deliver Safety, People Do!

Posted by Kevin Burns on Mar 18, 2020 1:15:00 PM

If you have been trying to help your team buy-in to safety but are having trouble getting the result you’d like, you may be focused on the wrong thing. In this week’s post, a three-step plan to improve the level of buy-in to the safety program.

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3 Tips for Motivating in Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Mar 11, 2020 1:00:00 PM

One of the questions I’m asked most often is “How do we motivate employees to be enthusiastic about safety?”

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Create A Positive, Motivated Team in Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Mar 4, 2020 1:00:00 PM

How many of your safety meetings are focused on benefits of safety instead of being focused on rules? Let’s look at some of the benefits of safety.

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Use This Rule to Get Buy-in to Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Feb 26, 2020 1:15:00 PM

If you want to get better buy-in to safety, you’re going to need to learn this one thing to make the job so much easier.

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Are You The Safety Leader Your Team Needs?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Feb 19, 2020 1:15:00 PM

What would it take for your team to perform better in all things including safety? And are you the person who can get them there?

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