Safety Followership

September 16 2018
By: Terry L. Mathis

The best administrative assistant I ever had asked me the first day on the job how I would judge whether or not she was successful at her job. I thought myself a good leader but realized I had not truly defined what a good follower would do. I had to get past the results I wanted and define the behaviors that would produce those results. Once I defined these for my assistant, she measured her progress against those goals and together we accomplished great results.

Safety Followership

In safety, we often define good performance as compliance with rules and procedures. Even worse, we sometimes send the message that all that matters is not getting injured. This intimates that any performance is okay as long as it does not result in an injury. Shallow definitions of performance create sub-optimized performance. Such performance produces less than stellar results.

Good leaders define exact expectations of their followers and constantly reinforce progress toward those expectations. Followers of such leaders are clear on what is expected of them and can measure their own progress toward excellent performance of their jobs. If you think you are a good leader, ask yourself what a good follower of yours should do.






Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.