Broader Management Skills For The OHS Professional (And Other Professionals)
Well the first free 216 page EBook – “Guidance for the beginning OHS professional” – George Robotham” – was a huge success with over 13,500 copies sent out and still counting! Inspired by the positive feedback, George has just finished his latest book based on the fact that, to be successful, ALL Managers, not just OHS Professionals MUST HAVE a broad range of skills. It has been reviewed by a number of his peers and I think you will agree it is essential reading – I guarantee you will identify a number of opportunities for improvement in your existing skill set!
Please find a short extract of the book below – you can see how awesome the rest of his work is here: George’s Reflections
I have been doing safety professional impressions for nearly 4 decades. I have been fortunate to have done this in a variety of industries, often in high performance environments in times of significant change. The majority of people I have worked with have been very dedicated and caring but there have been a few mongrels. No matter what your specialty is the most significant challenges will be the people ones. The people make or break an organisation.
In my time in safety I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 13 fatalities, 1 case of paraplegia, 1 serious burns case and a major stress episode. All of these had a devastating effect on the organisations involved but were easily prevented.
I am a long time critic of education for OHS people in Australia because I believe it has too much of a focus on technical OHS skills and not enough on the required broader skills.
I like the General George Patton quote “Lead me, follow me or get out of my way”
The following largely results from my critical reflection on my experience and learning, in a few areas it represents input from my network of associates, I thank them for that.
“A health & safety problem can be described by statistics but cannot be understood by statistics. It can only be understood by knowing and feeling the pain, anguish, and depression and shattered hopes of the victim and of wives, husbands, parents, children, grandparents and friends, and the hope, struggle and triumph of recovery and rehabilitation in a world often unsympathetic, ignorant, unfriendly and unsupportive, only those with close experience of life altering personal damage have this understanding”
One of the things that came to me a number of years ago was that the OHS person needs a number of non OHS skills as well as OHS technical skills to be effective. You have to resolve to be a life-long learner; often learning in fields allied to your major discipline will increase your effectiveness in your major discipline.
Be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge and experience you can. Never be scared to ask for advice and experience, never stop learning. Look beyond what others see and learn to understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’.
Finding yourself a mentor will be of real value and constantly discuss issues with your peers.
Deliberately ask for the hard jobs. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone is a great way to learn and do not be afraid to fail. Failure is a great way to learn.
Start your learning at the level you can handle. Simple principles can be easily learnt, you don’t need to be an academic.
The following attempts to explore the required non OHS technical skills.
Non OHS technical skills I maintain are necessary include-
1. Communications Skills
2. Interpersonal Skills
3. Management of Organisational Change
5. Psychology and Sociology
6. Project Management
7. Quality Management
9. Facilitating Meetings / Problem Solving Groups
10. Time management
11. Mentoring / Coaching
13. Managing Committees
14. Recognising Displacement Activities
16. Human Resource Management
17. Ethical High Performance Standards
19. Being a Champion
21. Commitment to Excellence
23. Being a Chameleon
24. Relevant Industry Experience
26. Customer service
27. Presentation skills
28. Political awareness
30. Organisational skills
31. Personal experience of leadership
32. Managing yourself
33. Your life