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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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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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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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Do You Know Your Real Safety Role?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Feb 12, 2020 1:15:00 PM

What really is your role as a supervisor, a manager or even a front-line safety person? Knowing that role and accepting it can dramatically increase your effectiveness, help to overcome complacency and build teams who care about each other.

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What Old Teachers Can Teach Us About Safety Leadership

Posted by Kevin Burns on Feb 5, 2020 1:15:00 PM

How did you get to where you are? And who were the people who you depended on to help? The answers to those questions can help you become a better safety leader.

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Senior Management Doesn't Support Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Jan 8, 2020 1:15:00 PM

Have you ever said out loud (or secretly wished) that senior management would openly show their support for safety so that the team would perform better in safety? Well, it turns out that you don’t need their help. Here’s what to do instead.

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Do You Want To Lower Safety Numbers or Improve Safety Culture?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Dec 4, 2019 1:15:00 PM

You know that you want to improve your safety culture. You just may not be going about it the right way. So, let’s give you a tip on where to start to improve safety culture the more effective way.

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Safety Only Needs Ten Percent Buy-in

Posted by Kevin Burns on Nov 20, 2019 1:15:00 PM

You don’t need more rules and procedures in safety. You need more people to buy-in to what you are trying to do in safety. That is a very different issue. And it requires a different set of skills to capture hearts and minds of employees in safety.

If you’ve adopted a leadership mindset, then you will have already spent time envisioning what needs fixing in your safety program. Without spending time to assess what’s wrong, you can’t possibly improve your program. Without a vision of where you would like to end up, you’ll stay stuck right where you are.

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3 Strategies to Improve Safety Buy-in

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 9, 2019 1:07:00 PM

We don’t need more safety rules. We need more buy-in to safety.

It feels like safety is in a transition place – where the compliance and punitive consequential measures of the past are giving way to more of a sense of community and teamwork. Where rules-based safety programs are giving way to higher levels of engagement, awareness and participation. Where safety managers are acting more in a consultative role instead of the clipboard carrying, looking-over-shoulder types of the past. But there is still resistance to safety by some employees (there is certainly no widespread and universal acceptance of safety) largely due to how safety has been positioned in the workplace.

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