Much has been written and said on the topic of leadership. It is widely accepted that one of the key tenants of a productive safety process is management leadership and commitment. A prime example of this tenant were comments made by executives during the 2016 ASSE PDC Executive Summit. These executives expressed their views on leadership and how we professionals need to be viewed as leaders within our own organizations. One nugget within the Summit was a comment from one of the participants;"….. talk to me in my language, the language of business."

Years of anecdotal research have shown that there are few formal educational venues or programs that prepare organizational leaders for their role in leading OSH within their respective organizations. They typically receive little to no training or preparation as to how their leadership skills and talents may be utilized regarding the organization's vision, values, beliefs, roles and responsibilities relative to OSH. Many "don't get it" until faced with a significant emotional event (citation, fine, serious injury, death, etc.) And if impacted in this manner, many actions are performed in a "knee jerk" manner and may not have lasting impacts.

An additional challenge is that in many organizations, the OSH function is a staff or advisory function with no direct operational authority. In these situations, a different leadership set is required for OSH professionals. The ability to "influence" is most probably the skill needed most. This skill need be applied both upward and downward throughout the management hierarchy. To provide maximum influence, it is critical that the OSH professional know, understand and identify leadership traits and skills of those within the organization.

This session will explore the styles and qualities of leadership and facilitate a discussion as to tools and techniques that can be used to guide organizational leaders as they strive to visibly demonstrate leadership within the OSH arena.

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