Leadership Tips Risk Management Education

The writer at sixty
The writer at sixty

Somewhere along the career climb a subtle transformation takes place

Welcome to Leadership Tips and Risk Management Education.

The higher up one is in a business the more one identifies with it. If you are the owner, general manager, or a vice president you are the business – as far as the public and your employees are concerned. But if you’re a run-of-the-mail office worker, a clerk, a driver, a store man, you “work for them.” One the other hand, if you’re in upper middle management you probably use the word ‘we’ when you refer to action being taken by you on behalf of your employer without the teeniest bit of self-consciousness.

Somewhere along the career climb a subtle transformation takes place from working for an organization, to acceptance of one’s part in it, to being it.

Formation of a Team - Antarctic Division Training.

The writer was originally seclected to go to Mawson base.  The members of the team, including OIC and 2nd in charge among the two dozen of us formed close bonds.
The writer was originally seclected to go to Mawson base. The members of the team, including OIC and 2nd in charge among the two dozen of us formed close bonds.

Business Risk Management

So now we come to business risk management and what the truly capable “Captain of Industry” knows. Also, on how he or she uses this knowledge. “How?” you might ask. By bringing that feeling of ownership as far down the promotional pyramid as possible. Even ignoring the pyramid altogether and being all inclusive.

How do the smart captains go about this? For it’s a very subtle strategy.

It seems to the writer that they do it by deliberately engendering a feeling of ‘belonging’ in their crews. The method? Simply put, it is done by involving as many of their people as practicable in the running of the organization.

The buck stops here - but you have to trust your employees

How do they involve the many in the running of their organization? As far as leadership tips go, this is a key question. Obviously there has to be someone with whom the final decisions rest. It is said that United States President, Harry Truman had a sign on his desk which read, “The Buck Stops Here” The buck did stop there. But Truman still trusted his Commanders-in-Chiefs in the field to win the war for him. And these commanders trusted their lesser general’s to do the same, and so on down the line.

Bonding of a team which is going to live in close proximity for over a year is very important.

Leadership Tips : Personal recognition is important

The temptation is for the “Captain” to play it safe, “go by the book,” temper directives to conform with the status quo, err on the side of conservatism. But if the Captain is bold, he or she, with his or her able lieutenants, will contrive as many situations as possible where the crew members can contribute positively – and knowingly unto themselves – and thereby take ownership of the whole ship rather than just the anchor chain, paint-locker or the stokehold. And not only contribute important ideas, but take the credit as well as the blame.

In risk management education the good captain lavishes praise on his crew, and takes the blame himself when things go wrong. This way the crew own the good work; they own the positive achievements, and their morale and output remains high. Additionally, those in charge of a particular work areas should identify who, that is what person or persons, came up with a particular good suggestion or innovation, rather than hugging the glory unto themselves. Personal recognition, rather than simply team recognition, is important.

Yours truly training with the Mawson Team.

Here I am in the Victorian High Country in September 1976 prior to going south.
Here I am in the Victorian High Country in September 1976 prior to going south.

be willing to run the risk of embarrassment

No, the best method, though sometimes awkward and calling for courage, are those of risk. Risk management education involved trusting the staff. It is running the risk of embarrassment, of greater chance of mistakes being made, versus increased productivity and increased staff morale.

The captains who practice real Risk Management are never remote from their crews. Further, they lead by example. They are high profile. And they like to talk with as many of their crew as they can at the same time. They hold plenty of “meetings of the whole” and look at their people eyeball to eyeball in common forum whenever practicable. Not for these, edicts handed down by staff circular and standing order.

Create a feeling of closeness to the captain

In business risk management, the out-dated methods of referring creative ideas upwards via the suggestion box, or via a team leader to manager to director, detract from the concept of ownership. They work, after a fashion. But they work poorly. Likewise the old methods of referring information downwards via managers to team leaders to staff. Not only is accuracy of information lost in transit, but the feeling of closeness to the captain is lost also. Thus belongingness is lost.

We know that with today’s technology is it possible to contact on a face-to-face basis every employee who works before a desk-top or notebook computer using programs such as Skype. What better way to keep the Captain’s presence before his who crew than to address them this way from time to time.

The MacQuarie Island Winterers Team 1976-77

Can you pick who is the OIC?  Who is second in charge?   I doubt it.  This was a Team where all were trusted to do their jobs without supervision.  This is the sort of commitment that is needed for optimum efficiency.
Can you pick who is the OIC? Who is second in charge? I doubt it. This was a Team where all were trusted to do their jobs without supervision. This is the sort of commitment that is needed for optimum efficiency.

Management by 'walking around' is still important

Such captains practice ‘management’ by walking around. When at their own work station they are approachable. Not for them the ‘open door policy’ but, rather, no door at all. Such prefer to work in the common space, and they retire to privacy only when it is absolutely necessary. The pressure of work on such leaders is high. But the rewards are great. And they’re aware that they are really accepted as an important member of their team of teams. Thus they become ‘family’ almost, and their huge family of staff takes ownership of the family business. Once this happens, it is noticed that the expression “them” – referring to senior management – is no longer heard quite so commonly on the workshop floor.

I hope you enjoyed Leadership Tips Risk Management Education.

Keep smiling

Tom.

2 comments

Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 6 years ago from Canada

Good leadership at the top trickles down the line. Great points. :)


Tusitala Tom 6 years ago

Thanks Dame Scribe. Always good to get feedback, especially when it's positive.

Tom

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