Leadership is not a monolith. All leaders work toward achieving a desired result by precisely balancing their emotional investment in their people and their logical investment in their end goals. But the balance between these factors can vary between any two leaders. Because there are many different paths effective leaders explore to acquire their desired results. And many different factors that mold individuals as they become effective leaders.
Part of the journey toward becoming an effective safety leader is understanding the leadership style an individual leader has crafted. This determines where a leaders’ strengths and natural instincts lie in addition to their blind spots and areas for improvement. Understanding both sides allows a leader to expand their capabilities and embrace new solutions when facing particularly difficult challenges.
Emotion and Logic Define Leadership
This is where the balance between emotion and logic comes back into play as the coalescence defines leadership styles. Leaders that become more attuned to their leadership style better understand their instincts and motivations. This also opens up their ability to learn new styles and employ new modes of problem solving that they haven’t considered before.
The logical-focused side hones in on timelines, procedures, and objectives. It centers on the tasks being as direct and driven as possible toward ensuring end goals. The emotionally-focused side emphasizes the people in the process and their emotions and perceptions. This side works to achieve the goal by involving everyone, building trust, and providing support.
Leadership Styles :
- Balance: High logic; low emotion
- Summary: These leaders view the relationship between leader and direct report as a transaction. The positive or negative consequences of a direct report’s actions are solely based on the strict guidelines around meeting clear objectives. Because transactional leaders are comfortable establishing boundaries and consistent expectations for their team. This makes directives clear and precise for direct reports but can make their relationship with the leader cold, demanding, and lacking in empathy.
- Pros: Clear outlines for what is and isn’t safe; quickly and clearly addresses safety violations
- Cons: Can be impersonal, intimidating, and can take too narrow of a focus on safety guidelines
- Balance: High logic; high emotion
- Summary: These are the individuals considered to be “naturally born leaders”. Leaders that equitably tap into logic and emotion keep motivation and focus elevated to inspire teams to greater results. Transformational leaders make clear safety directives and engage with their team at a personal level to forge deeper connections to an organization’s safety culture. They are highly demanding while convincing their team that they’re capable of greater, untapped success. These expectations can achieve results beyond what an organization expects but at a pace and pressure that leaves some teams burned out.
- Pros: Able to easily get employee buy-in in a safety culture; inspires discipline and focus in their team
- Cons: High constant engagement and expectations can run-down employee morale; can lead to employees questioning the genuine nature of the safety message
- Balance: Low logic; high emotion
- Summary: Counselor leaders are not illogical. These leaders choose to focus more on how their team is doing and feeling versus the metrics and analytics of data. They achieve results by connecting to their teams’ emotional well-being. These leaders express their genuine interest in their teams’ safety which encourages direct reports to confide their concerns and take action of their own volition. These leaders make their team feel supported but also open the door for potential emotional manipulation by some direct reports. This combined with their struggle to set precise steps for safety objectives can make counselor leaders less popular with higher management.
- Pros: Encourages employees to adopt a culture of safety through empathy; makes employees feel more empowered to report incidents or issues
- Cons: Less clear expectations or objections; potential reluctance to confront employees over risky behavior or violations
Crafting Balanced Leaders
The aptitude that makes effective leaders also makes effective learners. Organizations are best served by well-rounded leaders versed in multiple leadership styles to utilize different approaches depending on the context of a given situation. And leadership skills can be developed and strengthened through workshops with safety experts and facilitators.
Optimum Safety Management provides a series of safety leadership workshops through the Optimum Center for Safety Leadership Online designed to equip managers and supervisors with leadership skills to boost employee engagement and strengthen an organization’s culture of safety. These workshops allow managers and supervisors to build off their initial leadership foundation with experienced safety professionals to adopt both the logical and emotional elements necessary to become fully effective safety leaders. Elevate safety leaders beyond the limitations of a single leadership style to become stronger advocates for safety for your organization and employees.
Optimum Safety Management provides the information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how Optimum Safety Management can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today, or reach out via phone at 630-759-9908.
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