Felt Leadership

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To develop ideas about how felt leadership behaviours and practices can be demonsttrated

By rgleed, Nov 9 2016 06:41PM


If we want our work systems to be resilient – to successfully adapt to changing circumstances – then we need to understand and respond to the gap between work-as-imagined (WAI) and work-as-done (WAD). Work-As-Imagined is an idealistic view of the formal task that disregards how task performance must be adjusted to match the constantly changing conditions of work and of the world. Work-As-Imagined describes what should happen under nominal working conditions. Work- As-Done, on the other hand, describes what actually happens, how work unfolds over time in a concrete situation. If the assumption that work can be completely analysed and prescribed is correct, then Work-As-Imagined will correspond to Work-As-Done.


It is not that WAI is better than WAD. It is not an either or choice. Like poles of a paradox, both exist in the real world of the work system and both need to be respected and hopefully aligned. Without WAI there would be no guidance and support to help reduce errors from fallible humans. Without WAD there would be no local innovation, adaptation and improvement to work effectiveness. Sometimes following the rules creates safe outcomes, sometimes it is dangerous; it all depends on the situation. Thus, adaptation is a double edged sword.


So dIfferent situations require different adaptive responses. Some organisation's or processes are more ‘interactively complex’ than others. Interactive complexity is a combination of the the inherent complexity of the process and the degree of close coupling. More interactive complexity requires more adaptive responses or variability in performance. But interactive complexity is not fixed but is dynamic. All processes can become interactively complex due to limited resources, excess demands on key people or processes, and procedures or rules which are too limited to deal with the current situation.


All work is comprised of multiple and potentially competing demands and performance requirements.This means that individuals simply executing an established pattern of tasks tend to add minimal value.


“This is because there is always a distance – a gap – between real situations and what is defined by procedures. The gap can only be bridged by people using their judgment to best apply procedures. Bridging that gap is how people add value. The greater the complexity of multiple and contradictory performance requirements, the greater the distance between situations and what the rules can instruct.”


The gap between WAI and WAD characterised by key differences for those who work at the ‘blunt’ end and those who work at the ‘sharp’ end of the organisation.


Those who work at the 'sharp end':


- Experience front line work first hand

In direct contact with the working interface including suppliers and possibly customers


- Receive feedback with little or no delay


- Priorities are related to the work at hand


- Represents practice:

Conditions are constantly changing and can be unpredictable

Work is underspecified, so guidelines must be interpreted within the context of changing conditions



People at the 'blunt end':


- Experience front line work indirectly and are limited to selected and convenient measures and indicators


- Receive a considerable delay in feedback (months to years)

Feedback is received in highly processed forms e.g., statistics and key indicators


- Priorities rely on interpreted and filtered information without precise knowledge and complete understanding of sharp end experiences


- Represents ideas about practice:

People can only imagine processes because they only gain access to selected information about outcomes (easily assessable)



One reason for the widening of this ‘gap’ is a phenomenon known as “practical drift” (Snook, 2000).

Practical drift refers to a situation where, over time, local work practices ‘drift’ away from the original intent at the time of system design, to more locally efficient work practices. However, if the local practices drift unnoticed and the work system becomes more ‘interactively complex’ and switches from loose to tight coupling, for example, circumstances may change resulting in functions becoming more time dependant (Perrow, 1999) without a corresponding change in local practices from task to rule focused, then the results can be catastrophic.


When there is slack in the system, this is seen as being efficient, but when circumstances change and revert to being tightly coupled and time dependant, then things go wrong. The challenge is that people at all levels of the organisation need to be able to distinguish between drift that is adaptive and improves organisational performance and drift that becomes dangerous.


Therefore “drift into failure” can be used as a metaphor for organisations wishing to become more resilient. For organisations this may mean making the gap between work as imagined and work as actually performed visible because the more the gap remains hidden, the more likely it is that the organisation will drift into failure.


The solution to drift is not attempting to further restrict performance variability as this simply sets up a new cycle of practical drift. Rather, it is more appropriate to monitor and detect drift toward failure and attempt to estimate the distance “between operations as they really go on, and operations as they are imagined in the minds of managers and rule-makers”(Dekker, 2006, p. 78).


Drift is inevitable: “all task performance is subject to operators discovering new things—better ways to do athings, short- cuts, unanticipated safety factors, what Snook (2000) has so usefully labeled “practical drift.”


In the end it is the task and the people doing it that create their own standards, rules, and behavior patterns. I believe we have to accept such practical drift as being inevitable in all operations, have to observe it, have to analyze it, and have to decide how best to integrate it into our safety programs.”


All organisational leaders must accept that that groups of workers are ‘communities of practice’ who may, through interaction with one another and the tasks they perform together, create their own shared meanings about what it is to work safely.


How can felt leadership help bridge the gap?


The answer to making the gap visible is by the behaviour of the leaders within the work system. These are some of those actions:


1. Live the systems – leaders need to own the organisation's safety systems and bring them to life by their active participation in them. They do this by the practices that they systematically demonstrate. In this way they build ‘collective mindfulness’

2. Teach people when and how to demonstrate adaptive behaviour – help build individual autonomy – “people using their judgement in the moment” – by understanding what your people do and the context in which they do it; the combination of resources, goals and constraints.

3. Structures of accountability - Leaders should focus less on the paperwork associated with safety awareness programmes and more on implementing structures of accountability that hold managers responsible for learning from the outcomes of these programs.

4. Be present in the workplace - Furthermore, if the source of culture is as much communities of practice as it is organisational leaders, then leaders need to understand the safety practices that develop informally in these communities. To do so, leaders and managers must spend time in these communities of practice and build trust among the members.

5. Transfer learning - With trust comes the opportunity to make tacit knowledge explicit. This knowledge can then be shared among members of the community and with managers. Therefore, communities of practice become the site for learning and provide a mechanism through which organisations can grow a worker’s base-line of common sense.

6. ‘Live by the rules, but don't die by them” - Finally, understanding work as it is actually performed will allow managers to develop safety rules that are grounded in reality, and to create a culture of safety that encourages workers to be mindfully rule guided rather than mindlessly rule bound.

7. ‘Juggler’ – leaders have a specific role to play in ‘juggling all the balls’ – the competing demands of safety, cost, quality and schedule – that help create the ‘gap’. Jugglers’ are the people in the middle of the continuum between WAI and WAD. They translate, interpret, shield and deflect to hold things together and maintain relationships.

8. ‘Walkrounds’ – leaders must develop ‘operational awareness’ for the work systems for which they are responsible. This means getting out from behind a desk and getting into the workplace. One effective way of doing this is by using a ‘walkround program’.

By rgleed, Oct 13 2016 04:51PM

"A desk is a very dangerous place from which to view the world" John Le Carre


Visible felt leadership is about demonstrating behaviours that communicate ‘respect through action for the well-being of people’. Felt leadership behaviours can only be demonstrated if leaders are ‘present’ in the workplace in order to both sample the work being done and to communicate directly with people.


Felt leadership requires “GOYA” – “Get Off Your A***”. Put another way it requires leaders to practise ‘Managing By Walking Around’ (MBWA). That is being present in the workplace to sample, by direct observation, the behaviours, work practices, procedures and work flows that are taking place.


Researchers (Komaki and associates) suggest that it is not MBWA around which is important but monitoring. Their research discovered that “the single most important leadership behaviour is monitoring”, that is seeking to obtain information exclusively concerned with performance. In their research they defined monitoring as enquiry into the relationship between the performer and his or her work.


Bur Management ‘presence’ in the workplace can be an antecedent or trigger for both punishment and positive reinforcement.


It can be a punishment because:


• You end up “Catching people doing things wrong”

• You inadvertently reinforce/punish the wrong behaviours


Why does this occur?


- You may not know the current job in sufficient detail

- You may draw conclusions about what you observe based upon too little data


The solution to this problem is simple:


'Wander around' with a purpose (e.g. focus on a specific behaviour or result) AND in the company of the supervisor


Successful work sampling of a work area requires that you:

1. You understand how the organisation “structure” works in the work area e.g. who is responsible for what?

2. You understand how the management ‘process’ works in the work area e.g. how problems are identified and dealt with?

3. You sample work with the company of the supervisor of the work area (‘calibrate eyeballs’ with the supervisor, direct comments to supervisor not to employees)

4. You must strengthen the position of the supervisor; remember the power of the ‘Pelz effect’

5. You must focus on identifying and removing organisational and managerial “roadblocks” to desired behaviours and results


Most of the MNBWA that any manager should do is with their direct reports. They should coach and encourage their direct reports to themselves demonstrate 'felt leadership'. They must “Praise the Praiser’s”.


This method of monitoring work by using walkrounds has some similarities with Taguchi Ohno’s concept of ‘taking a Gemba walk’. In Japanese the word ‘Gemba’ means ‘actual place’. Ohno created the idea of the ‘Gemba walk’ – a pilgrimage to the place where the work happens – to help his employees identify opportunities for improvement and the elimination of wasteful activities in their workplaces. The concept has been adopted by the Lean community, and in today’s environment has come to mean going to the place of value for customers and other stakeholders. However its very popularity means that some of the rigour and clarity of the original concept may have been lost. The principles of a Gemba walk are very simple: go see, ask why, show respect.


Let us consider these three principles in more detail:


1. Go to the actual place and observe the work being done

Go where the work is being performed

Talk to the people about what they do and then watch the work being done

There is no substitute for monitoring the actual process and sampling the work

2. Ask questions

Ask why, and then ask why some more

Look for root causes – don’t be satisfied with discovering symptoms

Be authentic – show genuine interest and concern

3. Show respect

Respect the abilities and efforts of those who do the work

Celebrate achievements and successes

Listen to ideas or concerns, particularly when it comes understanding how the process works


So going to the Gemba is an important mechanism for gaining process understanding and building positive relationships with those who operate the process. If utilised as intended a successful Gemba walk can be a springboard for effective process improvement and building a problem solving culture.



But observation of the work being done is in itself, insufficient for the effective monitoring of performance. This is because most of the important aspects of work perfornance - employee engagement, quality of relationships, quality of information exchange, risk cognition and emotions and feelings are not apparent by observing the physical artefacts in the workplace.


This is why felt leadership is so important. The key is not ‘going to the Gemba’ but it is the leadership that is demonstrated whilst there. Leaders learn what is going on through active interaction and dialogue with their people:

- They communicate goals and values through conversation and dialogue

- They collapse status differences by being authentic and ‘asking’ not ’telling’ – they actively monitor performance by asking questions about performance e.g. ‘How did you do that?’

- They build ‘psychological safety’ by providing low-risk ways for people to express concerns and failures


So a key part of felt leadership and demonstrating your concern for the well being of people comes from 'systematic auditing' 9 or walkrounds) of the 'working interface'.


Systematic in this context means regular, scheduled and disciplined. Auditing in this context means being present in the workplace, observing the work being done and giving feedback on performance to the people involved. The working interface in this context means “the configuration of equipment, facilities, systems and behaviour that define the interaction of the worker with the technology”. This is where the threats and hazards to employees and the organisation exist and manifest themselves.


One example of a systematic auditing programme is used by DuPont which they call 'layered auditing'. DuPont believe that "accidents cast their shadows before them" and they can be predicted proactively by the type of behaviours that can be observed in the workplace. In order to actively monitor the workplace all managers, from the top of the organisation down to the first line managers, are required to undertake a specified minimum number of audits of the workplaces within their area of responsibility. The number of audits can be increased if the incidence of at risk behaviour observed in the work area is on an upward trend.


There are some basic rules which need to be followed to achieve effective management 'walkaround' programmes:


1. Walkrounds must be - and must be perceived to be - a partnership between management and employees to focus on work improvement


2. Walkrounds must focus on the real work being done - not merely on conditions or a specific set of behaviours.


3. Walkrounds take time - they need speciifc time and resources allllocated to carry them out


4. Walkarounds are NOT inspections - do not focus on inanimate artifacts but on the work system; the interaction between people, work and technology


5. Walkrounds must be carried out by managers and supervisors with the necesssary observation and interaction skills




By rgleed, May 25 2016 12:34PM

"Shadow of the leader" is a phrase used to describe a common phenomenon in organisations where those in positions of leadership and power, through their behavior and actions, tend to influence the behavior and actions of those below them, thus “casting a shadow” across the organization. A leaders shadow can be a source of good or ill.


It is the little things that leaders do that casts a large shadow. Everything you say is heard and everything you do is seen. Their shadow reflects what they deem important, what they pay attention to, what they reward, how they respond to crises, what they prioritise, deal with a disagreement, treat those around them, and behave in general. Whether they realize it or not, all of this feeds into the cultural fabric of the organization.


It is said that 'actions speak louder than words'. Everyone watches the boss and takes their cue from them. It is vital that that words and deeds are congruent. It is what leaders do in practice that is more important than what they say. Leaders must walk the talk. People 'listen with their eyes'. This is not only intuitively correct but there is plenty of evidence in the management literature to support that view. In the Knowing Doing Gap the authors believe that "what leaders do, how they spend their time, and how they allocate resources, matters". They talk about leaders who "create environments, reinforce norms and help to set expectations through what they do, through their actions, not just their words". This is why the standard that you walk by is the standard you accept.



Organisations (and their culture) over time become the the shadow of their leaders. Research on behalf of the HSE in the UK confirmed that leadership behaviour was the critical component of successsful health and safety management because such behaviour "turns systems and procedures into a reality". Good systems alone will not ensure successful safety management "the level of success is determined by how organisations 'live' their systems".


Ed Schein believes that "what leaders pay systematic attention" is a primary embedding mechnism for sustaining and changing culture. Systematic means structured, disciplined and regular practices. Practices are different from systems. Practices are the doing part of systems and are much more discretionary and subject to variation - for example whereas performance management is the formal documented system, the regular feedback between the boss and his subordinate is the practice. It is through practices that systems come alive and how people know what is important and valued.


Andrew Hopkins refers to the 'shadow' that leadership throws where apparently little things can have a big impact. - for example an event that generates the comment "and they stopped the job?!" or "and they still didn't stop the job?!". In many respects, such critical incidents work as big nudges - a nudge is any feature of a person's context that 'nudges'a person to behave in a predictable way.. Critical incidents are occasions that stay in the mind of people and resonate widely amongst them. They are imporant because culture is the hidden control system - what people do when no one is watching.


Ultimately the power of shadow leadership comes from demonstrating what you stand for and 'living the values'. Felt leadership is about demonstating through your behaviours respect for the well being of people. In order to practice felt leadership leaders must FEEL and BELIEVE in what their organisations value. And most importantly, they must ACT according to these values.




By rgleed, Apr 27 2016 12:52PM


Changing culture is “hard, difficult and subject to relapse”. As a consequence, culture takes a long time to change. In the meantime that leaves your leadership behaviour as the most direct and controllable method to influence performance and help build a resilient and effective culture. To be effective you need to transform those key behaviours into habits. Here are some useful leadership habits to consider:


Habit # 1 - The standard you walk by is the standard you accept


Everyone 'boss watches'. It is what you do as a leader that is important not simply what you say. Actions speak loader than words - 'people listen with their eyes'. There is no point preaching the mantra that 'no job is so important that it can't be done safely' if you walk past unsafe acts or conditions without intervening. That action (or inaction) sets the standard. You lead by the example you set. Small things matter. Bad drives out good, so you need to nip bad stuff in the bud. In the same way that in neighbourhoods when one broken window is left unrepaired the remaining windows would soon be broken too (the ‘broken windows’ theory), so the concept can be applied to the relationship between dealing effectively with apparently trivial undesired behaviour and achieving high performance. Allowing even a bit of ‘bad’ to persist “suggests that no one is watching, no one cares, and no one will stop others from doing far worse things”

Every leader needs to be ‘present’ and cast their ‘leadership shadow’. "Leadership shadow" is a phrase used to describe a common phenomenon in organizations where those in positions of leadership and power, through their behavior and actions, tend to influence the behavior and actions of those below them, thus “casting a shadow” across the organization. Little things matter. Their shadow reflects what they deem important, how they respond to crises, deal with a threats, treat those around them, and behave in general. Whether they realize it or not, all of this feeds into the cultural fabric of the organization.


Habit # 2 - Be intentional and disciplined


People tend to do what their leaders systematically pay attention to. One way of doing this is through ‘systematic walkarounds’ of the ‘working interface’. Systematic in this context means structured, scheduled and disciplined. Walkarounds means in this context means being present in the workplace, observing the work being done and giving feedback on performance to the people involved. The working interface in this context means “the configuration of equipment, facilities, systems and behaviour that define the interaction of the worker with the technology”. This is where the threats and hazards to employees and the organisation exist and manifest themselves

One example of a systematic approach is used by DuPont which they call 'layered auditing'. DuPont believe that "accidents cast their shadows before them" and they can be predicted proactively by the type of behaviours that can be observed in the workplace. In order to actively monitor the workplace all managers, from the top of the organisation down to the first line managers, are required to undertake a specified minimum number of workplace audits within their area of responsibility. The number of audits can be increased if the incidence of at risk behaviour observed in the work area is on an upward trend.

The key to this approach of auditing is to ensure that when the senior manager undertakes the audit they are accompanied by the immediate manager or supervisor of the work area. This is to ensure that the 'power' of the immediate manager of the work area is reinforced not diluted. One objective of this type of auditing is 'to catch people doing something right', which gives the opportunity to give positive reinforcement and praise for the desired behaviours observed. Of course whilst undertaking this type of auditing you will find employees demonstrating undesired behaviours. This is an opportunity to encourage the immediate manager to provide the employee observed with performance feedback. For the senior manager who is carrying out the audit it provides an opportunity to 'see' and discuss the 'roadblocks', created by the organisation's work systems and work design, that prevent the individual employee from demonstrating the desired performance. This process becomes a partnership between managers and employees – it is done with them not to them


Habit # 3 - Listen more than talk


As the saying goes "we were born with two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk". There are practical benefits to following this advice. If we continually simply tell or instruct people what to do then we not only limit their opportunity to learn and develop but we also automatically create resistance - ' if you insist, I will resist'. But there is a paradox here; the core of employee engagement is that people also need to know what is expected of them and how they are performing in relation to that goal. One proven way of creating effective manager subordinate interaction and managing this paradox is through 'performance dialogue'. An effective performance dialogue means getting the right balance between ‘advocacy’ (telling) and ‘enquiry’ (asking). One way of getting this balance is by using the Tell, Ask, Feedback (TAF) process:

TELL - tell people what is expected of them (instructions, standards, goals)

ASK - ask them how performance is progressing (monitoring the work)

FEEDBACK - provide feedback on performance (positive, negative and neutral comments)

To be authentic this three step performance dialogue process needs to be built into the normal day to day 'give and take' interaction that takes place between a manager and their subordinates.

The performance dialogue provides the basic building block for meeting an individual’s basic needs and for improving individual employee engagement i.e. through directly influencing the responses to 6 Gallup questions.

Managers need to be careful both about what they say and how they say it:

- Use ‘open’ not ‘closed’ questions

- Be careful with the use of ‘but’ as a linking word in the middle of a sentence – for example the way that ‘do it safely but do it by Friday’ means something entirely different to ‘do it by Friday but do it safely’.

- Ensure that body language, tone of voice and facial expression are congruent with the verbal message

- Knowledge is linked by ‘hooks’ – use open questioning to identify high risk exposures which are known to the participant may not be readily visible or apparent to the manager

So in summary:

• Managers need to interact authentically with their subordinates

• Such interactions have to be about performance related issues

• An important element of such interactions is about asking/enquiring (including identifying ‘roadblocks’ to performance)


Habit # 4 - Compliment - authentically


When we are given compliments, if is done authentically, it makes us feel good and when we feel good we perform better in whatever it is we are doing. But complimenting is not flattery and does not preclude criticism or honest feedback as long as it is done with respect. There are three fundamental rules to follow if you want your compliments to be useful:

1. Compliments must be genuine, authentic and sincere

2. Compliments must be appropriate to the situation and based on reality

3. Exaggerating is never good

But recognition for most people is not praise but respect, understanding and dialogue.

Respect is:

o To be recognised for ones efforts is to be respected as a human being in the organisation

o To be shown respect by verbal and non-verbal supervisory behaviour

Understanding is:

o employees understanding how well they are doing in relation to the resource limitations and system obstacles they must overcome in their jobs

o not about praise or awards; it is about awareness and appreciation of the details of resourcefulness, innovation and persistence it takes to get the job done.

Two way dialogue is:

o a conversation, not simply a discussion, but a genuine dialogue between boss and subordinate that brings out collective wisdom of both participants by learning to think together – creating a flow of meaning. A dialogue “is an inquiry that surfaces ideas, perceptions, and understanding that people do not already have”

o The key 'mechanism' for providing recognition is "a meaningful performance dialogue with their supervisor”.


Habit # 5 - Learning to 'see'


Effective leaders identify ‘barriers’ to performance and where if appropriate intervene to help remove them. Most people come to work to do a good job. The problem is that there are ‘barriers’ to good performance. These barriers can take many forms including:

- • Organisational barriers

e.g. lack of resources, lack of time to carry out required checks

- • Administrative barriers

e.g. procedures that are too limited to deal with current demands

- • Physical barriers

e.g. poor workplace layout causing product wastage

These barriers create waste. Leaders at all levels need to ‘see’ the obstacles that create ‘waste’ in the workplace. Waste is any cost that does not add value. Learning to see waste and its causes leads quite naturally to designing work in better ways, something else that needs to be 'seen'. When leaders have learned to see such things and have a dialogue about them with the people who do the work with a view to changing them, people follow. And that is a good way to think about leadership - do people follow you? When leaders make learning to ‘see’ into a habit they 'lead learning' and people who follow them start solving problems the leader doesn't even know about.

Here are some practical tips to improve your observational skills:

- Understand the difference between looking and observing. Be ‘consciously competent’ whilst you are observing

- Bring a different perspective – a fresh pair of eyes

- Develop an 'auditors eye' - e.g. Look up to the ceiling and see what is above the process or activity - ' the floor is the mirror of the process', pick up on fleeting actions – ‘catching the evaporative act’, use all your senses – you can sometimes smell the smoke before the fire

- Look for 'handoffs' in the workflow

- Look for anomalies – they are often the precursors to bigger problems

There is a paradox to be managed here. We want people to solve their own problems because in order to maximize ownership and learning, problems are best solved at the level and place where they occur. But some problems will be caused by failures in the organizational and management systems which it is the manager’s responsibility to resolve.


You can see that all these leadership habits are complementary and can be used as a systematic repertoire of integrated behaviours. So effective leaders are ‘present’, lead by example, maximise the use of praise, coach and involve rather than tell and dictate, and are absolutely always aware that even the little things that they do throw a big shadow. Remember: You get the level of performance that you demonstrate that you want to have.









By rgleed, Apr 6 2016 02:16PM

Felt leadership operates differently at different levels within the organisation. One important aspect of felt leadership is building 'cross level support' for safety.


What is cross level support?


This is a cross-level intervention whereby policies and practices taking place at one hierarchical level influence a lower, subordinate level.


For example, supervisory safety practices are modified as a planned intervention strategy, whose distinctive feature is that intervention takes place at the level above target behaviour, i.e. supervisory practice is modified in order to introduce change in front line employee behaviour.


Of course such a cross level support system requires the involvement of three levels of the organisations hierarchy because change of supervisory practice must be supported by higher management, i.e. the intervention must involve two layers of management in order to ensure maintenance of change. In order to maintain modified supervisory practices, higher-level managers must communicate high safety priorities even under increased work pressure.


What are effective supervisory practices?


We have covered some of these in previous blogs on felt leadership and include such practices as:

• Building effective relationships

• Managing the interaction

• Learning to 'see'


An important practice for improving safety performance is using "Safety-oriented supervisory interactions". Research (Zohar) showed a relationship between increasing supervisory safety-oriented interaction and significant improvements in safety behaviour and safety climate scores. The research also confirms the importance 'cross level support'.



What are "Safety-oriented supervisory interactions"?


Research suggest that that they can be analysed in the following five categories:

(a) informative exchange, i.e. general warnings, reminders, information, and explanations

(b) directive exchange, i.e. instructions, directives, and priorities;

(c) corrective exchange, i.e. referring to irregularities, mistakes, and deviations from standards;

(d) supportive exchange, i.e. expression of satisfaction, recognition, and appreciation; and

(e) inquisitive exchange, i.e. asking for data, updated information, and subjective assessments from subordinates


Categories (a) and (b) relate to antecedents, whereas (c) and (d) relate to positive and negative consequences. Antecedents accounted for 39% of exchange topics, consequences accounted for 52%, and inquiries accounted for the remaining 9%. Most supervisory interactions with subordinates were a composite, e.g. informative and corrective, or directive and inquisitive. Furthermore, 44% of all exchanges referred to two task facets (e.g. productivity and quality or safety) rather than having a single focus. This suggests that supervisory messages transmitted during verbal exchanges are multidimensional, offering interesting opportunities for improving performance in a balanced way.


Benefits of supervisor level interventions

Supervisory-level intervention also differs from worker-level intervention programs in that the latter are designed to modify discrete, often simple target behaviours that can be easily observed for feedback purposes. This results in a narrow focus on overt safety behaviour to the exclusion of large-scale hazards and potential disasters associated with more subtle unsafe practices. Whereas a supervisory-level intervention allows modification of all subordinate safety behaviours (including transient and uncommon ones), because antecedents and consequences are based on continual supervisory monitoring in constantly changing situations.


How can we build a cross level support system?


Senior management must:

• Provide the necessary systems and resources for safety

• Demonstrate a high priority for safety particularly when other work demands are increasing

• Develop supervisors competency in 'safety interactions'

• Provide supervisors with coaching and performance management (feedback) skills


Supervisors must:

• Be present in the workplace

• Learn to 'see' the barriers to desired behaviour

• Develop effective relationships with their subordinates

• Use 'safety oriented supervisory interactions'


See the model below






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