Day Two – Safety 2017 Denver Conference (ASSE) – The Characteristics of an Effective Safety Leader


Day two of ASSE has been incredibly insightful. The biggest standout of the day was Eddie Greer’s presentation, entitled “Positive Influence – The Key to Effective Leadership”, which was centered around the characteristics of a great leader in the context of safety leadership.

Eddie spoke with great conviction, and his 35 years of experience in health and safety provided insightful anecdotes, which really helped drive home his major points.
Here are the key takeaways from the presentation:
Surround yourself with great people and turn them loose – be a facilitator
Character and attitude matter as much as skill and knowledge
Employees want leaders to actually do something
Leadership is an action, not a title
Leaders walk the talk, bosses talk the walk
Leadership drives culture, culture drives safety
Employees don’t leave a company… They leave a poor leader
Leaders such as CEOs and senior management play the most critical role in creating and developing their organization’s safety culture, which they role model and pass down to middle management and supervisors. This emphasis and focus on safety eventually permeates throughout the entire organization, directly influencing the number of frontline employee injuries. Leaders must ensure that EHS is integrated into every facet of the organization and its core business practices.
A great leader empowers and encourages employees to think about the role they play in maintaining health and safety, and to discuss steps they can take to improve safety practices. For work to be carried out safely and efficiently, it is important that workers are engaged, committed, and understand their individual roles in creating a safe worksite.
Leaders that create workplace cultures where employees are engaged in their jobs and EHS practices find that their organizations are not only more efficient and productive, but are also safer places to work overall.
The key message here is that proactive leadership is essential when it comes to health and safety, and ensuring successful and efficient business operations.