This paper is based on several long term studies in the energy industry designed to determine if there was a relationship between leadership practices, employee commitment and motivated effort. A survey methodology was used to identify and validate the variables that consistently impacted operational excellence and safety performance. Our research shows that employee engagement is a direct result of leadership practices. Where leadership practices promote and align company values and commitment to safety, the overall performance in both individual and organizational safety is significantly higher. Furthermore, the leadership that creates this increased performance also creates more highly engaged employees that outperform the competition in production, customer satisfaction and overall profitability. The linkages are these. The best leadership practices develop engaged employees. Engaged employees have strong feelings of collective and individual self-efficacy. Engaged employees were observed to have much higher commitment and alignment to the organization’s values and work practices. This high level of commitment and alignment subsequently led to higher performance outcomes. The paper goes on to describe what an organization needs to do to create those effective leadership practices. Our research suggests that behavioral based programs rarely succeed unless fully integrated into a values based safety culture.

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