Good Leaders Help Maintain Involvement in Safety

Dr. E. Scott Geller gives some easy tips on keeping employees motivated and interested in safety.

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How do you get people involved in safety and maintain that involvement? Speaking at a professional development session at the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) conference in Orlando, Dr. E. Scott Geller, Safety Performance Solutions, gave attendees simple tips to keep employees involved in safety.

  • Watch your language. "How you talk will influence how people feel," said Geller. Simply improving your speech by switching from the past tense to the future tense will help motivate those you are speaking with.
  • Listen before giving directives. Leaders listen before giving direction, noted Geller. "Ask more questions and find out how people like to be treated before you ask them to do something," said Geller.
  • Find facts rather than faults. When accidents happen, Geller suggested referring to finding the cause as an incident analysis rather than an accident investigation. "Accident investigation sounds like you are going to find someone to blame," said Geller. "Look for outside factors instead."
  • Give more positive than negative consequences. "We learn more from our success than we do from our failure," noted Geller. Positive comments will help build up self esteem and confidence.
  • Teach theory and principle before procedure. Geller pointed out that there is a difference between education and training. He suggested that employers teach their employees the right theory and principles before training.
  • Do more leading than managing. "Tell your employees that you ''expect them to make this happen,'' rather than ''this is what is required,''" said Geller.
  • Enhance the actually caring person status or get employees to actively care about safety. "People with a higher self esteem, belonging and empowerment are more likely to actively care about safety," said Geller.

The overall message about keeping your employees interested about safety: "Safety will be improved if we talk," said Geller.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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