Are you building a culture of "Compliance Officers" or "Safety Leaders"?

With the role of regulations and risk management becoming increasingly important within Australia’s construction industries, many companies are finding they are encouraging a culture of compliance rather than safety consciousness. Doing so leads to the stifling of growth, with resulting high staff turnover rates increasing recruitment and retraining costs.

In compliance-led organisations, teams consistently work against each other as conflicting goals and objectives engender self-interests rather than the common good. Not only does this increase dangerous situations – working against the aims of compliance – but it also empowers conflict as the main form of communication.

It’s a common occurrence in compliance-led environment to see individual teams become fractured as daily work becomes log-jammed under the very thing that should help improve morale and productivity: safety at work.

This is an area in which The Change Network specialises. Unlike many other management training companies (and particularly those specialising in the construction industry), we concentrate on helping managers become safety leaders rather than compliance officers. Your people will immediately see the difference.

Do you want your managers to be safety leaders or compliance officers?

Employees respond to managers they view as enhancing their working day, and the best of these are those that are able to relate to their staff. Key skills include the ability of positive reinforcement to influence behaviours. Safety leaders are shaped this way.

Rather than using a compliance officer’s fear and intimidation approach, perhaps quoting facts and figures and regulations in attempts to get their people to do what is demanded, a safety leader seeks to encourage and motivate. A safety leader gets to know the people under their charge, using knowledge of personal capability and ambition to create a culture of ‘want-to-do’ and not ‘have-to-do’.

Safety leaders and the Qualities of a forward moving organisation

When examining the qualities of safety leaders, they are directly aligned with the qualities that make an organisation one for whom people want to work. In short, safety leaders are:

  • Empathetic to others

  • Leaders by example, leveraging their time to benefit themselves and others

  • Likeable, strong communicators

  • Able to demonstrate expertise through personal experiences and story-telling

  • Forward looking, with stretching goals for themselves and their teams

Compare this with how a compliance officer is viewed as:

  • Egocentric

  • All about the statistics, rather than the person, and not displaying empathy toward their people

  • Aggressive leaders with a combative and deconstructive attitude to individuals and teams

  • Fast to create enemies, and easily frustrated when people don’t fall into line

Three questions to ask of your managers

The way your people view your managers is the way they see yo