How to challenge positively

There’s something a little unusual about this training course.

I mentioned in my last posting that I’d experienced a massive paradigm shift. Rather than delaying dealing with behaviours and concentrating solely on policies and systems as the IOSH publication Behavioural safety – kicking bad habits seems to suggest, I see it as vitally important that behaviours are addressed also, in parallel with other health and safety development work. Together with my number one client, I’ve developed a 1-day training workshop which my client calls Positive engagement to equip employees with the skills to challenge unsafe behaviours in a positive and constructive, rather than confrontational way.

The client decided that rather than have mixed classes, teams from the business units – safety reps, Line Leaders and other members of the management support team – should train together. This has proven a fantastic decision and probably accounts for, at least in part, the positive atmosphere present at every session so far.

You can probably expect with training initiatives like this that someone, at some point, is going to react negatively … “Are you serious? Are you really expecting us to do that!?” But not only has no one reacted like that, there seems to be a genuine acceptance that this is necessary, almost as if it’s the piece that’s been missing all along.

There’s been no fanfare about this. No big-bang. If the change happens at all it’ll happen organically and people will know about it because they’ve experienced it.

It’s too early to know how successful it’s going to be in terms of improved performance, but the early signs are extremely encouraging. If positive feelings count for anything, we might be on to something really good here.

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