“When the leaders don’t lead, the followers don't follow."
Supervisors influence worker behaviour more than any other level in an organization. However, most supervisors have not received formal training to coach for enhanced safety Performance, much less to received any meaningful safety related training. What often results is the belief that a supervisor’s role is to manage safety compliance (i.e., rules, policies, procedures, personal protective equipment). This restricted thinking limits a leader in his or her ability to increase performance output beyond the minimum. In this situation, the creation of a culture of safety excellence becomes a near impossibility. Compliance is, without question, the critical foundation of a safety program. However, it is also the minimal level of safety effort expected of a company. Reaching the bare minimum can be managed and become common practice. This lowest level of exertion can then become a culturally reinforced expectation where an employee might go against the group when given the chance. If extra effort is perceived as a bad idea by one’s peers, valid or not, a company persists in a state of compliance-driven focus. Demonstrating the limited nature of safety compliance in total injury prevention is quite easy. Ask workers if they can obey all the rules, follow all the procedures, and wear all the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and still be injured. The answers provided will certainly be ‘yes’. There are further hidden opportunities to improve safety and prevent injuries. The challenge is facilitating an employee’s ability to recognize these opportunities and develop new habits that contribute to the creation of a new safety culture. This is where Vision Safety’s coaching comes in. Coaching becomes an increasingly critical tool of management when attempting to achieve excellence in any performance category. This tool can be used to facilitate performance improvement in employees greater than they thought possible. It is best used to influence individuals to increase their performance output, and learn how to do so without outside direction. Coaching targets the creation of new behavioural habits.