Behavior-Based Safety Leadership for Dummies

Leadership gurus have made a fortune defining what leadership is and most men and women aspire to be identified as representative of the elevated stature associated with being a “leader.” Leaders have followers – they are purportedly charismatic and transformational. Managers have subordinates – they are transactional and influence through the authority provided them.

One recognizes that a transformational leader may also function as a manager, but the average manager cannot hope to attend a “leadership” course and learn how to be charismatic – how to inspire others to “follow” you. I hate to be cynical about something that on the surface appears to be a noble objective, but it is hard to overlook the facts: over the last thirty years the role of manager has been defined and redefined by book writers, consultants, and academics as facilitators, coaches, mentors, team leaders, servants, now leaders. The emphasis on leadership is likely to change its theme at any time.

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7 Reasons Why Your Behavior-Based Safety Process is Flopping

7 Reasons Why Your Behavior-Based Safety Process is Flopping

In the last 15 years thousands of Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) processes have been implemented worldwide. BBS is the most commonly used process to obtain order of magnitude improvements in injury reduction. It is participative, preventive, and positive; it is the Six Sigma – the TQM for safety. Its core components are so powerful that it is hard to imagine how you can implement it and not get great results.

I’ve been selling BBS systems for 10 years, and I don’t have an agenda relative to methodology; I just want happy clients. So I listen when the people I talk to are frustrated; the companies who have attempted to implement BBS and the process foundered and stalled. Or, they are 5 years into a process that everyone has lost interest in and they want to talk about a “booster,” or something to “give us a shot in the arm.”

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Take the Pain Out of Job Feedback Discussions

Take the Pain Out of Job Feedback Discussions

One of the most difficult aspects of leading, managing, and supervising is providing performers with negative feedback. Most people report public speaking as their number one fear; for anyone in a management role, providing one-on-one negative feedback holds that number one spot. Many managers not only avoid feedback, they do not do provide it at all.

Annual or bi-annual performance reviews are hated by everyone—employee and manager alike. In many companies, performance reviews and salary reviews are synonymous; the performance review provides the rationale for whether one receives a raise and how much that raise is going to be. It is often humorously acknowledged that everyone is on his or her best behavior for a few weeks prior to performance review time.

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The Emotional Roots of Employee Engagement

The Emotional Roots of Employee Engagement

I begin this blog with a declaration that I intend to validate throughout the body of this entry: The key to employee engagement is emotional commitment which is in turn most closely linked to discretionary effort. Rewards, transactional positive reinforcement (supervisor occasionally using verbal reinforcement), and incentives in general do not change behavior in the long term; the biochemistry of the brain—serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters—the chemicals of employee engagement, of emotions and learning—are most effectively catalyzed through ongoing manager activities and attributes. Reinforcing work dialogs, which in turn build reinforcing manager-employee relationships, are the most effective means of eliciting employee emotional commitment to the job and the organization.

In 2004, the Corporate Leadership Council published a study—Driving Employee Performance and Retention through Engagement: A Quantitative Analysis of the Effectiveness of Employee Engagement Strategies. They surveyed 50,000 employees in 59 organizations within 27 countries. These data support the results of many other studies on employee engagement: Individual acts of reward and reinforcement do not compensate for a negative relationship with one’s organization or one’s manager. The best way to achieve emotional commitment from employees is through the creation of an emotionally nurturing organizational environment—a “reinforcing environment,” a history of reinforcement--a reinforcing relationship.

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How to Identify the Behavior's That Lead to Success

How to Identify the Behavior's That Lead to Success

What is a “behavior analyst?” Behavior analysts are psychologists who specialize in arranging (designing) physical and social environments to elicit useful, productive, value-added human behavior(s). Behavior analysts are experts in changing human behavior. When I use the word behavior, I am referring to something a human says (verbal behavior) or does (non-verbal, physical behavior), and behavior analysts work with fine grained, very specific behaviors when the situation requires them to do so.

In business and industry, behavior analysts help organizations improve human performance. The core purpose of quality initiatives and management development efforts is to change employee behaviors. U.S. corporations spend billions of dollars trying to encourage their employees to do things differently (change their behavior)—to come up with new ideas, work more safely, improve interpersonal effectiveness (talk to employees in a manner that encourages engagement and commitment to the companies performance goals), and do things to eliminate waste.

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Performance Feedback that Employees Welcome

Performance Feedback that Employees Welcome

I have to admit that I am one of those people who becomes uncomfortable when someone says positive things about my work. Of course I do want to get feedback to know how I’ve done, and I prefer positive feedback over the alternative. For me, I like to hear someone say something specific about the work rather than some comment about me.

For instance I prefer: “I really liked the idea you had for implementing OBM as a participative initiative rather than a management-driven process.”

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