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OHS Management is not Leadership

June 2, 2013

members isqem

We often hear people discussing making changes within an organisation; however in reality change is not always achieved to everyone’s expectations. The trouble is people often forget the basic differences between management and leadership. So to get it down to basics, we have to understand the fundamental difference between OHS management and change leadership:

Management; is the functional process that makes people and OHS systems work together. It involves
• Planning and budgeting OHS resources
• Control, risk identification and problem solving
• Organising and staffing
• Taking OHS legislation, procedures and systems and imbedding them into day to day operations.

Change Leadership; from a safety point of view is a process of social influence, the sole aim is to maximise the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a common goal. A successful leader understands that
• Leadership stems from social and group influence, not authority or power by title or position.

• Leadership requires others to follow; people do they don’t need to be under someone’s direct control or for that matter in the same company to follow a leader.

• Creating a realistic and sustainable OHS vision and strategy.

• Understanding that setting targets is not always the answer, A very common mistake made by organisations is setting accident frequency rates ”AFR’s” as a target, One tip, never do this, you will open yourself up to ridicule if you fail to meet the target.

• Motivating action by communicating, trust, respect, integrity, and sensitivity.

• Aligning people’s expectations, personal and business.

So why do we still have a problem with achieving positive change?

Most of the time, organisations are abundantly overstaffed with functional managers working in discipline silos, but lack a sufficient number of leaders to help them combat the needs of constant change in today’s business environment. Organisations must ensure they identify and utilise prospective OHS leaders who are able to meet challenges today as well as in the future. When a company exists without true leadership, the company is often unable to make any substantial change.

In my next article I will be expanding on safety leadership and how management change can be achieved and most importantly continually improved as a company grows,

Wayne Harris Chairman of ISQEM

Wayne Harris
Chairman of ISQEM


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