In health and safety there is no silver bullet. Safety excellence is a complicated thing and there’s no simple, magical solution. And yet, consider this. Do you know of any organisation that excels at safety management that doesn’t also have a strong team-working ethic?
For the very best organisations, collaboration is the order of the day for they have learned, through experience, that: –
i. the best solutions to safety problems come, not from guidance notes or codes of practice necessarily, but from key stakeholders collaborating to identify what will work best for the situation at hand;
ii. managers exercise responsibility and demonstrate ownership when they are listened to, when the constraints in which they operate are appreciated and they’re supported accordingly; and
iii. employees engage and look out for each other when they feel valued, when they are listened to and when they’re involved.
The attributes of a good collaborator are curiosity, empathy, questioning skills and of course, active listening skills – and these are the attributes of a good coach too for coaching and collaborating are essentially one and the same thing. Coaches exist to be collaborative and supportive and to help others perform better.
Or, as Executive Coach Janice Caplan puts it, “a coach is a collaborative partner who works with the learner to help them achieve goals, solve problems, learn and develop.”
We think that’s a pretty good definition of a modern safety practitioner too.
What do you think?