What’s your vision of a leader? If you were to complete the statement, “I believe a leader is …”, what would it say? And how do we know we’re leading safety culture in the right way?
As safety leaders, we have to inspire confidence, passion and commitment around a safety culture. A big part of leading safety culture is how others view our “leadership presence.” [password=”build-LP”]
Leading Safety Culture With Are-Know-Do
Leadership presence starts with who you ARE as a leader. This refers to your values, your motives and your character, and it answers the question, “Who am I as a person and a leader regardless of the situation and when no one is looking?” Personal integrity is key when leading safety culture.
One potential problem is, this facet of leadership is “caught” not “taught.” Personal integrity is something you either have or you don’t. And if you don’t have it, you’d better get it if your plan is leading safety culture or leading people in a safety culture change. Otherwise, they’ll quickly see through you and you’ll come across as a mere manager, not a leader.
Just as important for leadership presence is what you KNOW as a leader. This refers to your skills, your abilities and your traits, and it answers the question, “What have I personally learned through intentional education to become better at leading safety culture?” Good leaders are rarely satisfied with their current level of leadership and are always looking for better ways to lead people.
Finally, leadership presence is about what you DO as a leader. This refers to your behaviors, your habits, your styles and your competencies, and it answers the question, “What behaviors do I display that might cause others to view me as a leader when leading safety culture?”
A great way to determine what you need to work on as a leader is to think of someone else you believe is a good leader and just ask yourself a few questions:
“Why do I believe this person is a good leader?”
“What is it about this person that makes me believe s/he is a good leader?”
“What behaviors/traits does this person exhibit that cause me to view him/her as a leader?”
“What values does this person hold, and how to they represent those values in their leadership?”
Once you have a list of attributes, traits, behaviors, etc., then it’s just a matter of beginning to emulate those things in your own practice while leading safety culture.
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