Safety Sensors and Censors

July 19 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis

Many organizations have a gap between what leaders think is happening and what is actually happening in the workplace. This gap can be the result of leaders being out of touch or it can be caused by certain levels in the organizational chart censoring information in the flow upward, downward, or both. If information is cascaded through the organizational hierarchy, the flow can be interrupted at any level. The most common interruptions are at the first-line supervisor level or among the direct reports to the leader.

Many first-line supervisors view their job as translating management-talk into workplace reality and workplace reality into something not upsetting to leaders. When they censor communication rather than serve as sensors of what is being communicated, information can be lost or twisted.

Many direct reports to the organizational leader don't want to be the bearer of bad tidings, so they try to hide and fix problems rather than report them.

When an organization has gaps between leaders' perceptions and workplace reality, there is a potential problem of large proportions that needs to be addressed. We have found many causes of such gaps, but these two are by far the most common. If you have a gap where you work, look here first.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired 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.

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