Understanding Your Authoritative Safety Leadership Style

safety-leadership styles authoritativeLast issue we began looking at safety-leadership styles in general, and focused on the first of this: the Coercive style. The next safety leadership style up for discussion is a close sibling to the Coercive style–sort of the softer side of Coercive–and that is the Authoritative style. [content_protector password=”sls-02″ identifier=”sls-02″]

Recall that there are six safety-leadership styles. They are: Coercive >> Authoritative >> Affiliative >> Democratic >> Pace-setting >> Coaching

The Authoritative style, like Coercive, still wants to maintain control when developing a vision, but (unlike Coercive) doesn’t mind getting input from others–although in all likelihood the authoritative leader won’t act on that input unless it closely resembles the direction s/he has already decided upon.

This style is a firm, but fair “follow me” leadership style, and the objective is to set and follow a long-term direction for the team.

This style is very useful in situations that require direction. For instance, where there is a new vision in play (such as a safety-culture change); or where there are new or untalented employees (who typically require direction and are not yet in the best position to help with a long-term vision).

However, as we saw with the Coercive, a leader cannot operate in an Authoritative way forever. Once the new direction is set, and stakeholders have grasped its requirements, employees will quickly become disengaged if their leader continues using that particular safety-leadership style.

We’ll look at the characteristic of the next safety-leadership style in our next issue. But that’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Until next time.



About the Author

Eric Svendsen
Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.