Column: Building Your Leadership Presence for a Sustainable Safety Culture

What’s your vision of a safety leader? If you were to complete the statement “I believe a leader is …,” what would it say? More to the point, how do we know we’re leading safety culture in the best way?

As safety leaders, we have to inspire confidence, passion, and commitment around a safety culture. A big part of that is ensuring that those around us actually view us as legitimate leaders. Building your leadership presence will go a long way toward that is the case.

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 that 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?”

Read the fulll column here.


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