An Essential Skill for Safety Professionals – Reading Other People
Article by George Robotham
The greatest motivator is not money. It is the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, to contribute and be recognised.
Be tough on the task but gentle on yourself & others.
People judge you by what they see you doing not by what you say you are doing
Learn the context, culture and past before trying to make changes. Unless a crisis situation is apparent realise effective change requires a lot of effort and time.
It is often the relationships you build not your technical skills that determines success, network for success.
Communicate your expectations
Do the things that give the biggest bang for your buck
As a leader it is more important to be respected than liked
Catch people doing good and make a fuss of them, routinely thank people for their efforts.
Reading other people
There is no doubt the most difficult issues one has to deal with in any job are the people ones. You have to understand the people you interact with to get them to join you on the safety journey. ”Reading” others is a skill that must be developed.
I put posts on several Linkedin OHS forums and hs-canada asking people how they respond to this challenge.
Genuine consultation is the key. Get out in the work environment and interact with the workers.
One respondent said he had developed an asshole focus and when most people said an initiative was good he did not react to the assholes. This meant he could work with the assholes but did not trust them
People do not trust those they have caught lying to them. If you want to be a bulldust artist you have to be incredibly good at it and have an exceptional memory
You have to establish What Is In It For Me from the perspective of those you are trying to influence
The skills of Appropriate Self-Disclosure and Reflective Listening are important (Look them up on the internet) Give a bit of yourself and many will reciprocate
Requires a knowledge of psychology that is lacking in the safety sector, skills development in observation and listening are important
Listening to people is sometimes not done well
I make sure non-verbal communication lines up with verbal communication
Getting out in the ground level with the workers helps to build relationships and respect
Reading up on and applying personality type indicator models can be useful
Reading up on different personality types will help
Observing people without spying on them is beneficial
Check out how people interact with others and how people react to them
See if there is resonance or dissonance between their statements and their actions. Good old rapport building and relationship building is a good technique, work towards common ground
Use face to face communication whenever possible
Beware of people who engage in impression management
Thoughtful use of humour can help to break down barriers
Be genuinely interested in the thoughts of others
Show an interest in the real world not just theory
Try not to be too complex
Give and make it clear you expect feedback
Use active listening and questioning
There will be times others do things that annoy you, often they will have what they think are good reasons for what they are doing and they will have no idea they are annoying you. A good formula for these situations is to express your feelings as follows-
“When you A, I feel B, because C, and I would like you to do D, because E”
The only person who knows how you feel is you and most people will not know how you feel and many will be happy to adjust their behaviour accordingly. If this does not happen at least you have the basis for ongoing discussion.
Reading other people can enhance your and their effectiveness. Some study of psychological interpersonal relations material is recommended .People Skills by Bolton is of value.
George can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org, he welcomes debate on the above (it would be indeed a boring world if everybody agreed with George)
George Robotham, Cert. IV T.A.E.,. Dip. Training & Assessment Systems, Diploma in Frontline Management, Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education), (Queensland University of Technology), Graduate Certificate in Management of Organisational Change, (Charles Sturt University), Graduate Diploma of Occupational Hazard Management), (Ballarat University), Accredited Workplace Health & Safety Officer (Queensland),Justice of the Peace (Queensland), Australian Defence Medal, Brisbane, Australia, email@example.com, www.ohschange.com.au,07-38021516, 0421860574, My passion is the reduction of permanently life altering (Class 1 ) personal damage