Special Topics in Safety Management

Taking An Interest Gets Better Results

Many times a supervisor faces serious obstacles (real or imagined) to attaining a good safety record for his or her department. Here are some of the excuses supervisors commonly given along with some solutions:

Employees are people with certain specific functions to perform, but they are not machines—they’re people with feelings and emotions. People like to be shown some attention, and they work better when they get it. Without it, they will not be motivated to perform their best work. A manager or supervisor who keeps this in mind—and shows it in his or her attitude—will produce better results than those who don’t.

No one likes to be thought of as a worker whose sole reason for existence is to perform one job day in and day out. It is very easy under the pressures of every day business to forget that there are people involved. When faced with serious problems, a heavy schedule, or a tight deadline, the tendency is to ignore people and concentrate on getting things done. But to get whole-hearted and eager cooperation from workers, it’s usually better to keep them in a “let’s accomplish something” mood by relating to the employees as people first. A smart supervisor recognizes this fact and does the little things to make the job atmosphere more people-oriented.

Make the rounds, Chat with workers and show an interest in their problems. It never pays to be so busy that you lose touch with your people. Listen to their ideas. This is not just being polite. It’s vital to the results you want to achieve.

You know it’s a big help when you can talk with your boss when you need to. The people who report to you feel no differently. Even if they never actually do it, it’s a comfort for them to know you’re available. Regardless of whether it’s a business or personal problem, it’s important for workers to find their boss’ door and mind always open.  They will feel better and therefore work better.

Do you make yourself available? Ask yourself the following:

  • How frequently do I make the rounds of the work areas I supervise?
  • When did I last have a friendly chat with my workers?
  • Do my people feel free to talk with me about their problems? If not, why not?