Leading Safety Culture: It’s Not Just for the Titled

Leading Safety Culture: It’s Not Just for the Titled When creating a safety leadership culture we tend to focus on building leadership capability in those who have official management titles in the organization and who supervise people. That’s important to do, but it would be a mistake to leave it at that.

It’s equally important to build those same leadership skills in your front-line employees. They’re the ones who are most at risk, they’re the ones who are most likely to see an unsafe behavior take place, and the culture has to be led by them for that culture to stick.

We need to get them to a place where they feel like owners of their environment, where they are empowered to lead safety, and where they are unafraid to say something if they see an unsafe activity.

Unless they perceive that they are part of the effort–and unless they’re empowered to lead at their level–they’ll never embrace the safety culture as their own, and they’ll never take ownership for that culture.

That requires developing leadership skills in your front-line employees to help solidify the safety culture. It requires instilling a sense of ownership in them, reinforcing policies that promote ownership, developing them for leading a safety culture at their own level, and building a safety-culture infrastructure to make the effort sustainable. All of these are critical components to building employee leadership in the organization.

We’ll begin breaking this down in depth and looking at practical approaches for accomplishing all this in our next article. But that’s all for this edition of Recordable Insights. We’ll see you next time.



About the Author

safetyBUILT-IN is the safety-leadership learning and development division of SCInc. We believe sustainable safety performance is best achieved through a core-values based safety culture, and that culture must be driven by leadership. Our safety-leadership programs are competency-based, and focused on performance outcomes. We believe in building capability and ownership into our client organizations—as well as sustainability into our programs—so that our clients can continue running those programs long after we’re out of the picture. Our emphasis is on building better leadership presence, better leadership communication and better leadership coaching by first building relationships of trust with people and learning how to engage them on the level of their core values and beliefs.