Give me your best, or worst, people

October 03 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

During a break in one of the recent workshops I led, an attendee shared details from a phone call he had just concluded. An operational leader responded to a request to free up an employee to serve in a committee as a path to eventually joining the safety team full-time. The leader responded, "You can't have him. He is one of my best production employees." There are two sides of the spectrum regarding how valued safety professionals and safety leadership are within the company.

Give me your best, or worst, people

In Company A, when asking for safety resources from the workforce, management responds by providing the available warm body, offering up someone who was injured or is underperforming.

In Company B, serving in a safety leadership role is a critical path to promotion. Experience in leading safety efforts is necessary. The company wants to embed safety thinking into future leaders and sees value in high performers and their ability to influence others safety mindsets and practices.

These two companies demonstrate the difference between thinking safety is something we have to do versus how we lead. Which is your company?

"Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are." — José Ortega y Gasset

"Values aren't buses... They're not supposed to get you anywhere. They're supposed to define who you are." — Jennifer Crusie

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't." — Robert Benchley

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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