I am often asked if I feel there is a difference between a leader and a manager. My answer is always an unequivocal yes. I am a firm believer in the statement that you manage things and you lead people. This is one of the missing pieces when it comes to many safety professionals …leadership training and the ability to influence. I have seen evidence of companies that do all types of company and regulatory training and completely disregard one the most important pieces of training for their leadership. And they sit back and wonder why their safety endeavors are not successful. It can be boiled down to lack of effective leadership and not being able to positively influence people.
Let's cut to the chase. We need leaders that can influence people because we had 4,836 work place fatalities in the United States in 2015. This is the highest number since 2008. Why do we need effective and influential leaders? I think these numbers speak for themselves.
Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzer in their book, Influencer, The New Science of Leading Change state that what qualifies people to be called leaders is their capacity to influence others to change behavior in order to achieve results.
Look at that one more time. At the end of the day, what qualifies people to be called leaders is their capacity to influence others to change their behavior in order to achieve important results.
John Maxwell in his book, Developing the Leader Within You, simply states that "leadership is influence".
Byrd Baggett in his book, Dare to Lead states that "the heroes are the leaders who realize the worth of people; those who understand the power of compassion; those who understand and value the dignity of employees. These men and women understand the wisdom of serving others and the positive influence that genuine concern for others have on the balance sheet."