Safety Leadership in action


Yesterday I observed what Jack Welch talks about when he says leaders must have 4E’s and a P. I am involved in developing a safety leadership program with a deliberate focus on front line staff. The fundamental premise is to put the front line worker at the center of the safety universe, not at the bottom of some hierarchical structure, full of corporate motivations and intentions. It is a fresh approach to anything I’ve been involved in and unbelievably motivating.

After a relatively short development time (we believe in making mistakes as quickly and as early as possible, so don’t waste time trying to perfect anything), we rolled out the first of the pilot sites with a leader that personified Jack Welch’s 4E’s and a P. From my previous blogs, you may have gathered I am a bit of a fan of Jack. I’ve read many of his books when I was a corporate guy. My thinking then was for a $20 investment I get 30 years of corporate learning’s from GE. I’ll have some of that thanks!

Anyway, back to the 4E’s and a P. If you haven’t read anything from Jack then let me explain what they are. If you have, skip to the second last paragraph. The 4E’s and a P are:

Energy – You need to have the energy to deliver. No use getting half way there and running out of puff. Full steam ahead. You are running at 90 when everyone else is at 60. To do this you need to be fit, both physically and mentally.

Energise – You need to motivate those around. To energise them into action. Speaking positively, reframing negativity into “what can we do about it” is an important part of being a leader. Interactions with you leave people charged.

Edge – You create environments that make people think. You challenge in a positive way. You don’t accept the status quo and seek to improve. Speaking with candor, honestly and openly. Sharing your experiences both good and bad. Looking for competitive advantage especially in developing your teams.

Execute – You deliver and so does your team. You measure yourself on what gets done rather than what gets talked about. You seek out and reward those who execute as well. Your habit is “take action”.

Passion – You exude enthusiasm. Everyone is clear what excites and drives you. Your passion attracts others of like mind.

Yesterday I observed all of these elements in action and it was brilliant. A leader that was 110% behind the program because he is passionate about his business and his people. He delivered with unbelievable energy with the knock on affect of energising others. It was infectious. He energised others by asking energising questions. Questions that make you think and draw out your knowledge or experiences then he positively reinforced, creating real significance for the group. He also broke down hierarchical barriers by sharing his outcomes (both good and bad) with real honesty and candor. Finally, when suggestions, issues or solutions where raised by the team he took action there and then.

This is safety leadership in action.

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