This article was based on some thoughts provided to us by mining industry OHS Advisor Bill Conway.
Getting people to do things, that is, influencing them, is an activity that all managers and leaders are immersed in continuously one way or another.
One of the most important sessions in the workplace is the shift’ ‘pre-start’ meeting, perhaps the only time that supervisors, managers, OHS professionals and workgroups are together to address issues of concern and listen to feedback.
OHS leaders need to use this opportunity to raise awareness about potential hazards and create a culture of ‘mindfulness.’ One way of doing this is by real life stories. Managers and supervisors who are willing to use personal examples that include their own personal foibles and mistakes, help create trust within the organization.
Bill uses the example of the driver who refueled his vehicle with petrol instead of diesel, of course meaning that the tank had to be drained resulting in the mistake being well-advertised throughout the company at the expense of the driver. Then he tells people that the person who made the mistake was himself!
Transparency and admitting errors does not alienate people, quite the opposite it brings people closer. Two very distinct things happen as a result; people remember the mistake and are less likely to repeat it themselves, but far more importantly and of much greater benefit is that people “connect” with management and are therefore far more likely to listen to EVERYTHING else you have to say.
So let go of your ego and build trust and co-operation quickly by communicating with impact!