Safety leadership coaches, mentors and develops people.
This element for most, is the hardest to do but the most rewarding. When you do this well, all sorts of benefits appear. Given that most of the time your team do what they do when you are not there, their development is so important. You can’t send an email and instruct the person to do better or be safer. You must engage.
I recently listened to Richard Branson talk about his priorities with people. It was his employees first, customers second and shareholders third. He also took every opportunity to engage with Virgin people to develop them.
Jack Welch (ex-CEO of GE for over 25 years and corporate leadership doyen) lists in his book Winning, 8 things that leaders do. His first do, is “relentlessly upgrade teams, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence.” As the image shows, it is all about growing others.
Lets go a little deeper. Leaders create safe environments for honest feedback. Recognising strengths and weaknesses is critical to a positive safety culture. Learning from your mistakes and building on others solutions is an important skill to develop. Seeking opportunities to engage with others to provide and recieve honest feedback is a habit worth developing. Use open questions to explore what is on people’s minds, listen with a genuine curiosity and find positives to reinforce.
The following questions will assist in assessing how advanced your organisation is:
- Is there a personal development program in your organisation which uses coaches (either internal or external)?
- Do you have a safety conversation engagement measure and is it socialised?
- Do you routinely collect information, assess and provide feedback?
- Do teams take ownership for problems or look to others for solutions?
- Review your activities over the last month. Have you engaged with others we the specific intent of developing yours or others safety leadership?
- How well do you accept safety feedback? When did you last review and change your improvement plan to reflect feedback offered about safety?
Your assessment will show where you are in the safety leadership journey. Great safety leadership will score highly with all of these questions. Use your assessment to feedback to your leaders were your team is strong and were it has opportunities. Remember this is all about improvement so start today.