Several weeks ago, I wrote about a Culture of Challenge. This is a concept of an open organization where it is OK, or even required, to confront actions which you think could be done more safely. A corresponding attribute needed in a culture of challenge is Courage.
It might not seem to be a brave thing at first glance, but I have seen bravery in plant managers who are willing to fire someone for a safety violation. It’s brave because it is not a popular decision. It’s brave because the employee involved was trying to keep production up when he reached into the machine. It’s brave because other employees who reported the action now feel at fault, and may never speak up again.
But where I’ve seen it done, it was absolutely the right thing to do.
Whenever I am involved in orienting employees, even when safety is not my direct accountability, I make it a point to let them know how I feel about my accountability for their safety. In short, if they don’t regard their own safety adequately, then we can’t afford someone to watch over them. One hundred out of one hundred times, I will go to an unemployment hearing over a perceived wrongful termination than to the funeral of an employee who I could have stopped from killing himself.
How courageous are your supervisors? Do they have the permission to be bold?
Thanks for reading, and let’s be careful out there.