Read this straightforward guide by our Head of Culture Development Collette Murray on how the mindset of leaders impact safety.
– 5 mins read –
Rules and Regulations are not enough
What is it that drives people to behave in ways that puts their own or their colleagues’ health and wellbeing, even their very lives, at risk?
Like many others, I was shocked and saddened to watch this video from the UK-HSE Ltd which was shared on LinkedIn recently (video below). It shows how safety rules and regulations were flouted on a daily basis which led to the devastating loss of life.
The unsafe practices were caught on the site CCTV and show that even basic rules were not being followed. Presumably there were at least some rules were in place – but could it be that rules on their own are not enough? Is it in fact the culture of an organization that has the biggest impact on behaviour?
Would this tragedy have occurred if the culture of the organization was one of intervening on even small aspects of unsafe behaviour?
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”Sir John Whitmore, coaching pioneer and Co-founder of Performance Consultants
Example of best practice of safety in a workplace
Years ago, when I was working on a project with a multi-national oil company I too was acting in an unsafe way. It was a small thing (in my mind), I was just walking down the stairs, but was carrying “stuff” in both my hands so I couldn’t hold the hand-rail (a golden rule in the office, as a slip, trip or fall in the office counts every bit as much towards incident reporting as on a refinery).
A colleague walked past me and rather than admonishing me, or telling me to follow the rules, they asked a simple question and offered help “can I carry something for you so you can hold the rail?” “How kind” I thought to myself and then I realised what had happened! A safety intervention had happened, pure and simple. Acting safely at all times was so deeply ingrained across the whole company that everyone felt empowered to intervene and had the skills to do so in a way that made me think and want to care for myself and others in the same way.
Join one of our webinars to find out about a coaching leadership style
Benefits of a Safety Culture
This example seems trivial compared to loss of life, but if people can intervene on the smaller things (which probably happen more regularly) with care and kindness, it makes it easier, through practice, to intervene on the bigger things (which hopefully happen less regularly).
A culture of intervention requires trust and psychological safety and doesn’t come from the rules and regulations it comes from Leadership creating the environment for this to thrive. A deep understanding that safety is embedded in the DNA of everything a company does is only achieved by leaders being visibly aligned and speaking with one voice about what they expect, role-modelling safety interventions, creating a sense of inclusion and belonging in their teams and genuinely caring for their health and well-being.
How a coaching culture helps transform behavior
Read this article from the Financial Times about our work with Linde to discover how consciously creating a coaching culture can transform safety behavior.
Or alternatively click here if you would like to know more about our approach and results read our case study with Linde.
If you enjoyed this article, you may like to read next:
Connect with us:
How can you bring executive coaching into your organization?
Sir John and his colleagues at Performance Consultants were the first to take coaching into the workplace and coined the term “performance coaching” in the early 1980s. We continue to lead the field in performance improvement through coaching leadership training.
Select one of the options shown. Or get in touch and one of our world-class leadership development consultants will work with you to create a tailored programme that meets your specific needs.
- Attend a Coaching Course – experience the benefits of coaching first hand. See our Global Training Calendar to find the right course for you
- Transformational Leader Pathway – learn how to be a leader–coach with a coaching leadership style that creates a culture of high performance for you, your team and entire organization
- Performance Coach Certification – become a coach or take your coaching skills to the next level so that you can practise transformational leadership coaching
- Individual Coaching (1:1) – take your leadership to the next level with a tailored, fast-track professional development coaching programme
- Team Development – unlock the next level of potential in your team with team coaching