Five Dimensions that Build or Erode Safety-Related Trust

Trust is a two-way exchange, for leaders and followers.  But let’s focus on trust from a leadership perspective.  For me, trust is largely about believing that a leader will do what is best for his followers or group.  In our context, trust is about doing what’s right to keep others safe, especially when they are vulnerable to a given risk and the potential for injuries. But we have to understand that trust is a multi-dimensional facet of leadership which can be built or eroded along various dimensions through: Competence pertaining to a job – overall knowledge, skill and ability Integrity

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Great Safety Performance Requires Great Teammates

I lost a very good friend last week, Fulton Walker.  Fulton was a teammate at West Virginia University and later played for the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.  He set a couple of longstanding Super Bowl records and I‘ve written about him in the past to highlight various aspects of leadership and teamwork. Any significant loss of humanity stirs emotions and thoughts that cause us to reflect.  I’ve reflected on many aspects of Fulton’s personality over the last few days.  His soft and warm personality endeared him to many.  And now, I want to reflect more specifically on the qualities

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Insight From Terry Bowden: Can You Push Your People Too Hard?

The Akron Zips’ football team just had a big upset victory over Marshall University and Head Coach, Terry Bowden gave me all the credit – lol.  After the game, Terry sent me a text, “it was all your talk” and I replied, “I’ll take five percent of the credit.” Well, a couple of weeks ago, I had a fantastic time with one of college football’s great coaches and people, Terry Bowden, head football coach of the Akron’s Zips and a wonderful leader of young men. If you recall, Terry was Bear Bryant Coach of The Year with the Auburn Tigers.  

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The Mere Exposure Effect and Safety: What’s Going On In Your Organization?

Joe’s a new hire and it’s his first day on the job. He just sat through a safety orientation and walks into his work area wearing all of the required PPE.  His sense of awareness within his new work environment also seems to be very high. He looks around and notices a few of his co-workers wearing some of the PPE identified in the orientation, but little more. Seemingly, Joe tries not to think too much about it, and goes on with his training for the day. By the start of his third week, he doesn’t bother with other forms

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Take Your Safety Blinders Off

I’ve upped my bicycling game over the last year.  This summer I plan on completing my first one-day, 100 mile trek – on my Trek.  But as some of you have already experienced – breakdowns will happen. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a couple of broken spokes and chain, and a flat tire.  No fun when you have to walk your bike a few miles.  And I was well prepared on a very good bike.  Through these circumstances, I’ve learned the importance of preparation but I’ve also learned that people step-up to help when you’re down.  People take

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Sleepy, Grumpy, Dumpy, and Your Safety

I’m not sure about you, but when I don’t sleep well, I can be pretty miserable. I’m not much fun to be around and I don’t work well – I can’t sustain my focus. We already know that sleep deprivation among workers is a billion dollar problem across the globe.  But how about the absence of sleep quality for your leaders – what impact does it have on subordinates? Current research suggests that there is a harmful trickle down effect from supervisors to workers, particularly when there is a lack of leader sleep quality.  Some even feel the lack of

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Leaders Create Safety Detachment and It’s Insidiously Destructive

Oftentimes, many of us like to discuss safety influence at the supervisory level where much can be accomplished to keep workers safe.  But like you, I’ve seen what subtle actions can do when it comes to influence from the top – both good and bad. I have seen influence from the top go according to the plan and also go the wrong way.  Observable leadership disinterest in safety creates a downward spiral of detachment from safety professionals as well as other functional leaders, managers, and supervisors. Detachment can be insidiously destructive, especially if it is not recognized and corrected.  And

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Humility – How Much is Needed to Have Great Safety Performance?

In recent days, I’ve been thinking a great deal about humility.  Oftentimes humility seems to become more prominently displayed when one is hurt, challenged, or broken in some way.  On the other hand, I can’t help but think of the very best leaders I work with on a regular basis.  Most are curious and open to learn.  Where did that start?  Where did it begin? Many great leaders know what they don’t know – especially when it comes to improving safety performance.  Humility helps, don’t you think?  And if humility is one side of the coin, arrogance and pride just

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NASA, SpaceX, and Leading with Your Vision for Safety

If you were paying attention to the news over the past several days, you’d realize that more recent space history was written.  SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully completed a food and cargo mission to the International Space Station, and returned a first stage rocket on a drone platform in the Atlantic Ocean. This type of landing was never previously achieved.   If you watched this landing, it was spectacular.  But for me, what was even more remarkable was the excitement of the team that completed this mission – they went crazy! Even with this backdrop, what’s quite noteworthy to me is the

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