Valued People Value Safety

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many times you’ve felt that you’re out of gas, out of patience, out of energy, that when someone you care about needs your help, you suddenly have the energy?

Bob Dylan said it best. “Just when you feel you have nothing left to give; you find out you were wrong.”

After the toughest days or toughest circumstances, when someone who matters needs you, you find the strength to keep going. You give it one more try. You lend one more hand. You make a difference one more time. Because you always have something left to give especially when someone needs your help.

The people you care about matter. The important people in your life deserve your best and you never want to disappoint them. So, you keep going, even when it hurts., Even when you’re tired. Even when you just want to rest.

The people who matter get your energy.

Oh, sure, it’s easy to skip another meeting. It’s easy to skip an event that you feel obliged to attend. It’s easy to turn down a social event or skip something where you were simply planning to put in an appearance. But it’s hard to say no to someone you care about. You’re not wired that way. You’re not capable of leaving loved ones hanging.

Why is it that you can skip an event because you’re exhausted but still have energy to help someone you care about? Because your heart is in the people who are important to you.

Here’s why that happens: if your heart’s not in it, neither is your mind. Your brain always follows your heart. If your heart is in it, so is your brain. But just because something might be logical or make sense, doesn't mean your heart will be in it.

You can do safety logically, or …

3 day plan for hearts and mindsYou can do safety and not have your heart in it. You can meet the bare minimums of the safety code and still not have your heart in it. You can show up for a job that doesn’t have your heart. You can sit through safety meetings that don’t have your heart. You can pretty much run on autopilot for the stuff that doesn’t have your heart. It’s easy. There are parts of your life you do that way now.

But when your heart is in how you supervise, how you communicate, how you care about your team and how you demonstrate their importance and have your heart in their safety, that’s when you start to connect in a far more profound way. You are no longer a safety person or supervisor pencil-whipping check-boxes. 

When your heart is in it, the conversations change. The safety meeting presentations change. Your connection to your people changes. You start to discover that they are great people who want the best for their families. That they too are willing to drop the unimportant stuff to do the things that connect with their hearts.

Connect safety to what matters

When you talk about safety in terms of paperwork, forms, rules and procedures, you won’t find anyone’s heart in it (‘cept maybe the real gung-ho, old-style safety “officers”). No one warms up to paperwork and rules at the heart level. That’s all logical stuff. But, make people feel valued, make them feel mattered about and you start to connect with people at a deeper level. Then when you tell them that their safety is important to you and that you need them to be at their best, you’re more likely to get their attention on safety.

But you’ve got to have these conversations one-on-one. You can’t tell your people how much they matter by showing them a PowerPoint slide at a full-staff safety meeting. You can’t expect a slide to feel genuine. Imagine calling a family meeting to tell your kids how much they matter by showing them a PowerPoint slide. (Insert teenagers rolling eyes here). Don’t even think about doing it with your team either. Be your best. Be your genuine self. Help each member of your team to see that they matter.

Here’s what to do next

the safety leader's code download for freeFull credit to my friend David Broadhurst of Codesafe Solutions in Australia for the title of this post and for being the first person to say it: “valued people value safety.” If you want your people to take every precaution to value themselves, then you must value them first.

Get rid of the tired old clichéd posters of Safety First and Go Home Safe (going home safe is what you’re supposed to do isn't it – do you really need a poster?) and replace them with big bold letters of Valued People Value Safety. Then, live by those four words. Let them guide your decisions with how you interact with your team and how you coach and guide them.

Safety may make sense logically. But valuing each member of the team will help establish their safety as something that matters to you and them.

Kevin Burns, consultant/author, works with smart, caring companies to energize safety culture, build teamwork, and get employee buy-in. Kevin is on a mission to help employees purposefully care about the work they do and to actively look out for the people they do it with. Download your free copy of Kevin's Safety Leader's Code

Topics: safety culture, safety complacency, safety hearts and minds