How Leaders can kill safety culture?
Transform Leaders for new norms

Safety Culture is critical for your business's long-term growth and profitability.

However, businesses with strong company safety culture perform better than companies without it -- for instance, organizations with deliberately developed safety cultures experience a 14% increase engagement ration in safety activities, compared to a 48% less engagement rate at companies without strong safety culture.

Those same culture-strong businesses also see a 19% increase in observation reporting, as well as a 28% boost in earnings growth.

Many organizations might look at fewer engagement rates and believe that the issue is their workforce quality. However, that is not the real cause of engagement rates. Fewer engagement rates, as well as other workplace safety issues, are often reflective of bad company safety culture.

To fix an organization's safety culture, you must start at the top -- which is why we've cultivated this list of some ways corporate leaders unwittingly erode trust and create a toxic company safety culture. Keep reading to make sure you're not accidentally making one of these grave mistakes.

1. Don't "micromanage" your team.

No one likes being micromanaged. It clearly implies a lack of trust.

Sometimes, managers nitpick every safety task and assume they're assuring success -- but, instead, all they're doing is aggravating their employees.

Additionally, those managers have created an opportunity for team members to simply follow directions, contribute the bare minimum, and collect a paycheck.

"In an environment of trust, employees have the freedom to explore, report, suggest, correct, and yes, sometimes reflects on his own mistakes,"

Instead of detailing how every assignment should be completed, managers should establish clear goals and ensure employee preparedness to undertake the job at hand. Managers should express trust, encourage creativity, and push for safe operation, through risk-reduction strategy.

 
 
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"These mistakes can be thought of as not important, but enlightened leaders think of them simply as learning opportunities."


2. Promoting favoritism.

Awarding a favorite team member amongst all.

Ignoring when a certain high-performing employee breaks the safety code.

Looking the other way when that golden team member performs an unsafe act.

Ultimately, this kind of behavior is frustrating to other employees and leaves them feeling neglected and unmotivated. It can also lead to frustration.

Humans are innately biased, so leadership and organizations as a whole must adopt more awareness when making decisions. The best way to avoid inherent biases is by practicing decision making across multiple, diverse leaders instead of leaving those choices to a single supervisor.


3. Bucking the spirit of teamwork.

A company's leadership may often mistake cooperation with collaboration -- a big no-no.

Whereas cooperation involves individuals working independently alongside each other, collaboration involves collective work.

Cooperation leads to individual achievement, which can breed competition and contempt.

Building a collaborative spirit starts with creating optimized communications. "Having a central place for teams to collaborate, brainstorm, exchange ideas, and keep track of safety progress as a team,". Nothing builds more trust, camaraderie, and a shared sense of purpose than supporting open exchange among team members.


Collaboration, on the other hand, creates a culture of sharing where individual success is reliant on group success.


4. Sending mixed messages with employee recognition.

If an employee demonstrates strong safety values in an organization by operating outside of what the company safety culture prescribes, then that behavior is what will truly define the company safety culture.

"Rewards and recognition committees need a complete picture of the relationship between rewards as it relates to corporate culture,”. "One that includes both financial and non-financial rewards, and that goes beyond the board's statutorily-defined responsibility for oversight and reward of talent."

It is paramount to define compensation, accolades, and recognition based on long-term business and leadership strategies throughout the organization.


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5. Putting up with bad behavior.

Company leaders often believe that tolerating certain behaviors is part and parcel of being open-minded and promoting diversity. Again, this is a misconception. Whatever a manager tolerates will ultimately determine the company's safety culture.

Micromanaging, rewarding bad behavior, favoritism, and gossip -- if you tolerate it, it will take root and proliferate.

Confronting and eliminating bad behavior may be the most difficult aspect of leading a workforce team because it involves having hard, honest conversations. But those difficult conversations are necessary because there is much more at stake than being uncomfortable.

Don't take the easy way out by saying nothing. Speak up, act, and promote the safety culture you want your organization to develop and maintain.

 
 
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