How can senior managers develop trust?

Photo credit: Nicola Corboy on Flickr

I stopped by the BC Safety Charter Roundtable in Vancouver on Nov 29 and heard an interesting group exercise. Dr. Graham Lowe, speaking on leadership and trust, asked his audience of CEOs and senior managers “to write down two simple actions you will take this week to build trust” with their workers. Then he asked for volunteers to read them aloud.

“Go out there on the shop floor and solicit feedback,” said one.

“Get out from behind my desk more and talk with everybody – take more time to walk around,” said another.

“Interact on a daily basis and also to bring everyone together and have more feedback.”

Lowe is a professor at the University of Alberta and has written several publications about people at work. He was one of the speakers at this annual event led by FIOSA-MIOSA, the BC Safety Charter signatories, and many sponsors.

Building trust is crucial for senior managers trying to build safety culture in their workplaces. Without this management support, nothing will change. I’ve written about this topic quite a bit in the past – most recently in this blog post Senior management support for safety.

Lowe said many of our ideas for building trust are “things we know we should be doing – like going to the fitness centre” so it’s just a matter of prioritizing it.

This year’s roundtable event follows up the 2011 initial signing of the BC Safety Charter, which I wrote about in this November 2011 post BC safety charter signals commitment

“The purpose of the Charter is to bring together CEOs who understand the principle that the effective management of health and safety is essential to long-term profitability and sustainability of their companies and want to spread the message,” reads the event agenda.

Thanks to FIOSA-MIOSA for inviting me and giving me a chance to see the commitment of these leaders. Congrats to all.


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