Leadership: Moving Away from Bullying

bully: a blustering, browbeating person

bully, bullied, bullying: to treat abusively; to affect by means of force or coercion; to use browbeating language or behavior

by Terry E. McSween, Ph.D.

Do you have managers or supervisors that are guilty of bullying other employees in your organization? Bullying has been in the press a lot in these past few months: articles and news coverage on bullying in our schools and even in professional sports. Many people think that bullying is confined to the playground or high school hallways. Yet, some people at work use their positions at work to intimidate others and prefer to describe their intimidating behavior—throwing objects, slamming doors, yelling, threatening, name calling—with terms like “tough manager” or “high expectations” or “perfectionist.” They don’t realize or don’t want to admit that, in reality, they are bullies.

The Heart of a Successful Behavior-Based Safety Process

The heart of a successful behavior based safety process.
by Jerry Pounds, President, International Division

Behavior Based Safety (BBS) is a process that has been implemented by most major companies around the world. It has been in existence for almost 30 years and has significantly reduced injuries in every business and industry.

Many issues act as barriers to effectively integrating BBS into a company's safety management system. Yet, one primary mistake makes effective BBS impossible: a lack of sincerity and commitment on the part of management, something which I call the heart of BBS.

Leadership Roles in Behavior-Based Observations

by Terry McSween

During my “Introduction to Behavioral Safety” workshop this year at the Behavioral Safety Now Conference, I had a number of companies participating that already had behavioral safety processes in place. Many of these companies were looking for ways to enhance the functioning of their existing behavioral safety process. In our discussions about management support, our recommendation that leadership participate in behavioral safety observations received a great deal of discussion. One of the participants raised an important question, “how do we transition to management participation in observations, after ten years of promoting ‘employees only’ observations?” While clearly beyond the scope of an introduction to behavioral safety, this is an important question.

Developing an Effective Steering Committee

by Terry McSween

One of the significant advances in Behavioral Safety (BBS) over the past ten years has been the documented improvement in how well companies are able to sustain such initiatives for many years. One of the keys to this success is establishing an effective Steering Committee to oversee and manage the process.

Another, perhaps less obvious factor contributing to long-term success of Behavioral Safety, is the identification of an employee to serve as the BBS “point of contact” (POC) on each crew or in each work group. A BBS POC is particularly important in organizations that are too large to have a representative from each work group on the Steering Committee. Generally, to be effective, a Steering Committee should have between eight and twelve members, with fifteen being the absolute maximum number. More than fifteen members may provide broad representation but severely compromises the effectiveness of the team for problem solving and decision-making. For such companies, identifying a POC for crews not represented on the Steering Committee is an important element for effective communication and support. Each crew or work group needs someone to serve as the POC for BBS. For example, an organization with 25 different crews will usually be better served by a Steering Committee with 12 members and 13 POC’s, rather than trying to have either a Steering Committee of 25 or Steering Committee members trying to represent crews they are not regularly part of.