COVID-19 has changed everything. It’s changed the way we educate, the way we work, the way we shop, and even the way we interact. With so many drastic changes resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s clear that safety leadership must change as well to ensure that your organization continues to meet objectives.
What is Safety Leadership?
Safety leadership describes how the organization and its leaders promote safety.
The foundation of safety leadership is leading through example. When leaders actively support safety, there are fewer incidents and more positive safety outcomes. Safety leaders don’t just tell people how to work safely. They demonstrate it through their own work practices, and they embody workplace safety.
How is Safety Leadership Changing?
Most elements of business have changed or will be changing, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to looking at new and innovative ways to keep employees and clientele safe, you’ll also need to adjust the way you manage safety in the workplace.
There’s More to Consider: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are simply more requirements in place to keep people safe, including more safety protocols, policies, and procedures. Don’t expect employees to go the extra mile and follow all of the new rules if their leadership is still cutting corners. Set a positive example by ensuring that all safety leaders are following all new protocols, all the time.
There’s More Need for Emotional Intelligence: The COVID-19 crisis has forced organizational leaders to start being more emotionally intelligent, compassionate, and cognizant of the fact that their human capital is more than just capital – they’re human. Managers need to shift their styles toward compassion. Workers are dealing with more than ever before:
- Stress related to fear of contracting COVID-19
- Fear of spreading COVID-19 to loved ones
- Stress connect to balancing work with the need to educate children at home
- Potential financial stressors related to their own or a spouse’s work situation
- Anxiety caused by uncertainty
- Fatigue resulting from working, managing education, and having to plan routine tasks more carefully
- Worry related to the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and other loved ones
- Mental illnesses such as depression/anxiety as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis
With workers carrying all of this while trying to continue to perform to expectations at work, it only makes sense that safety leaders make concessions for this. Remind safety leaders that while safety is still paramount, they must manage with compassion, understanding, and patience.
Enforcement is Changing: Organizations can no longer afford to be lax with safety enforcement. Doing so could result in a disastrous COVID-19 outbreak, putting staff and clients at risk. Because the stakes are higher now than they’ve ever been, enforcement and compliance must be managed more closely. When it comes to effective safety leadership, leaders must be prepared to enforce new protocols, follow disciplinary procedures where necessary, and have difficult conversations. The challenge here is to balance enforcement with the need to manage compassionately.
Moving Forward Safely
To continue to drive your organization toward objectives in a new world full of uncertainty, leaders must be willing to adapt their leadership styles. To help your safety leaders do this, be prepared to offer extra support, training, information, rationales.
Many organizations can use the wake of COVID-19 to strengthen safety leadership and increase the overall effectiveness of the workplace safety program. If the COVID-19 crisis has given us anything, it would be the chance to closely examine previous practices and identify areas of improvement. As well, many organizations are using this as an opportunity to show their employees that they care about them, their wellbeing, and their families.
Best Safety Training Can Help
Best Safety Training offers a course in Leadership for Safety. This course is delivered online, so employees can safely participate in training while maintaining a safe and healthy physical distance.
Best Safety Training also offers distance learning for your safety and convenience. Let the Best Safety Training company take care of your training needs.