The Supervisor's Role in Safety

There's a fundamental shift that occurs the moment a front-facing employee becomes the crew's supervisor. And the quicker you understand the shift, the faster you will get the buy-in of your team.

If you're a supervisor, there’s a very good chance that you were the rock star employee before you became a supervisor. You were probably a top performer with some pretty decent experience and even better results.

Your employer saw your talent and decided that you were the kind of person that they wanted other employees to be more like. So they promoted you to supervisor to help the others.

You were the rock star – the hero.

Then, you became a supervisor. And everything changed.

Here’s why it changed for you and how you can harness it to get better results for your team.

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If you moved from employee to supervisor, there's a fundamental shift that occurs the moment you become a supervisor. That shift is:

The moment you become a supervisor is the moment you stop being the star player and you become the coach of your team.

You really need to understand that fundamental shift in your responsibilities. You are now the coach, not the star player.

As a coach, your team is looking to you for a very specific set of skills in order to help them.

Your team doesn’t care how good you used to be at their job. They want to know how good they’re going to be with you as their coach. That’s what is most important to them.

They want to know how you are going to help them to be better, more trusted, more respected, and ready them for promotion down the road.

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Like any good coach, your job is to improve the individual performance of each of the members of your team. To help them develop better skill sets, to care about their contributions, to recognize their great results, and to care about their safety.

You are the coach.

And as a coach, you need to make their safety your top concern. When they are safe, they work better. When they feel safe, and valued, and cared about, they give a better effort.

Your role in safety as a supervisor is to give your people what they want from the job so they can turn around and give you what you want.

But as the coach, you must go first. So, go first because that's what leaders do. 

Remember, you don't need more rules and reminders in safety. You need more of your employees to buy-in. And that takes a very different approach.

Topics: safety leadership, safety culture, supervisor safety coaching