What many know to be true yet do not speak of it….
By Drewie – Hard Hat Mentor
There are many people out there who have no doubt witnessed some of the following scenarios on site. If we see these often enough they can seem almost ‘normal’, how tragic.
Some reading this may feel a tinge of guilt, no one is a saint. I will never claim to be one, especially back in the day.
If you are a leader today, are aware of these scenarios occurring within your company and do not challenge the status quo, do absolutely everything in your sphere of influence to turn the tide, then you are not a leader.
You are a yes man/woman.
How many ‘yes men’ have we come across over the years? The leaders or safety professionals who perhaps tried for years to turn the tide, to make a difference, to speak up, shake the tree and keep their integrity intact, yet were worn down and gave up. Found it easier to just tow the line, turn a blind eye and pay the mortgage, stay under the radar and keep their job.
My fear is, especially in this downturn and competition for less roles, those who were fighting the good fight will fold. Will turn into the ‘yes men’ they once despised.
Whilst reading this list, think about how these actions, events, behaviours may be effecting the workforce, the team, the leadership, the morale, the culture, the reputation, the trust, the credibility, the risk and on and on.
- A vast majority of the workforce cynical when it comes to the various risk management tools. Perceived to be ‘arse covering’ done only from a compliance perspective with no belief they achieve any mitigation of risk. Adhering to KPI’s for the sake of it. Quantity not quality.
Workers having the ability to fill out 30 take 5’s in one hit whilst sitting around having a beer after work to ‘get ahead of the game’ to save time on the job. They are quiet believable when handed in. They are ‘telling them what they want to hear’.
Some were ‘tests’ as in a take 5 written quiet seriously on the task of picking their nose. They hand these in with all the rest to see if ‘anyone actually reads them.’ This is one of the more polite examples I share with you here. JSA, JHA not much better, blindly signing onto them so they ‘don’t get in the sh#t,’ or sliding in a sneaky ‘review’ after the fact once an incident has occurred.
- A huge majority of staff and ‘leaders’ just as cynical of their own KPI’s for BBS observations, leadership walks and the like. Compliance perspective here too. No belief they will make any difference what so ever.
Staff and ‘leaders’ begrudgingly dragging themselves out of the office to comply with above KPI’s. Towing the company line in meetings very positively and convincingly yet complaining and bitching constantly out of earshot of HSE managers. The work front closest to the main office gets hammered with the most observations as it is the fastest to get over and done with so they can get back to ‘their real job.’
- Documentation – Risk management tools, observations, KPI numbers and hazard reports being falsified.
Back dating/changing dates of safety related documents to ‘fit the situation’ such as bumping up numbers for weekly, monthly reports. Hazard reports, weekly audits, LV pre starts you name it, being invented at someone’s desk and filled out very believably so KPI’s are all good.
- Double standards on ‘Golden Rules’ or ‘Lifesaving Rules’.
Blatant breaking of one or more of these rules ‘swept under the carpet’ by the powers that be to ‘fit the situation’ such as a critical lift must occur the next day and the offender is the only operator on site qualified to do it. A big kahuna let off scott free due to his/her position. Shifting ‘challenging’ tasks to nightshift for obvious reasons. Waiting to perform other ‘challenging’ tasks till the weekend when the big kahunas are off site. Leaders not wearing correct PPE in the field and adorned with rings when there is a no ring policy.
The list goes on and on and on yet I shall stop here.
If you think this is not happening to some degree in your company, great I hope you are right, what does your gut tell you? Notice I didn’t ask what do your LTI’s or KPI’s tell you………….
I share this to add my voice to those who are brave enough to admit what really goes on, yet when spoken of can have repercussions. It needs to be spoken of loudly and often.
Are you brave enough to join me and share how you keep fighting the fight, turning the tide and shaking the tree? I would love to hear from you all.
The voices are getting braver and louder with more joining in. Many are also sharing how to begin addressing a culture which allows the above scenarios to occur with no accountability back to the organisational leadership.
Sh#t should roll up hill, that’s why they get paid the big bucks right? Yet we are all accountable at the end of the day. We choose how we lead, or how we don’t.
Keep steppin’ up to it, please don’t become another ‘yes man.’ We need you.
I truly believe there is a massive amount of outstanding work being done in the safety and leadership space and we should celebrate that fact most definitely.
To balance this post out with a positive, next time I shall share some of the ways we may fight the fight and shake the tree, keep our integrity intact and even our job!
Thanks as always for staying with me till the end.
Only use your power for good
Cheers Drewie and Hard Hat Mentor