In last week’s blog we discussed the four elements that make effective safety leaders; self awareness, self management, social management, and social skills. However, there is more to a safety leader than that. Effective leaders must put on different “uniforms” to establish a culture that every person can learn and grow more toward safety excellence.
Most leadership falls under two categories; positional and inspirational. Those in positional leadership lead simply because they are in the position of authority and enjoy the power it brings. They are authoritative, and most of the time people will follow them just because they are told to. On the other hand, inspirational leaders are very passionate and genuinely enthusiastic about their duties and cause. As a result, their employees are more inspired and focused as they see the leader driving by a cause, purpose or belief. Employees follow inspirational leaders more because they want to. Leadership also has an easier time communicating with their employees as a result.
In constructing the ideal safety leader, the greatest benefit of inspirational safety leaders is they adapt in the way they communicate depending on their personality type they are working with. Here are some of the many uniforms an effective safety leader can wear.
Servant leadership style is when leaders observe and listen more to what is going on in the workplace environment. These leaders are empathic, aware and have foresight for what needs to be done. They will realign their goals to be exactly what the individual workers needs in order to maintain a safer environment.
The coaching leadership style defines the goals that need to be done; these leaders are there for support and questions but more to make sure the task itself is accomplished. They assess the person and figure out how much help each worker needs and coaches them throughout the task.
Charismatic style of leadership motivates employees, these leaders work on creating a great vision for the future. Charismatic leaders have strong self-esteem, will take many risks that most people would not normally and they focus on convincing people of their opinions.
Transformative style of leadership focuses on motivating the employees and creating a circle of trust between everyone in the company. These leaders create a greater vision for where the company’s goals align with their own. Furthermore, transformative safety leaders inspire their employees to follow in their footsteps in safety protocols and proper reactions to the hazards they face. The great thing about transformative leadership is in the ability to adapt to situations. Hence sometimes you can be more of a coach, other days you need enthusiasm to get your employees moving, and other times you may need to take the time to listen and figure out how they can better understand the material at hand.
Although there is not a right or wrong approach, it is important to pick the correct style for you and be flexible in adapting to your company’s culture.