June 07, 2014

Management setting an example

Why should any employer do something their boss didn't do?

Why should I try harder when I can see you who is higher in position than me does not?

These questions are often echoed in the health & safety conversation, where the relucatance to accept a new practice, that requires more work & effort sometimes, strictly needs the guidance and leadership of superiors. But the only way the leadership can be convincing is if they walk their talk, so they have to act on what they say as well, and not just expect people to follow new rules and regulations when the leaders themselves don't follow it.

It would be simply useless to enforce a no smoking area in a company when the leader of the company smokes wherever they want right?

Likewise to instilling a safety culture, that if the leader doesn't show the importance by doing it themselves, then no one will see its importance.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Carlo Carpinteri

    Hey Jaat!
    I do agree with you, setting an example is crucial for leaders to be effective. In fact, leadership involves both brain and heart: creating a valid H&S policy concerns people’s brain, but showing them you truly believe it by acting consistently gets to their heart.

    Let me give you an example: one of the most important philosopher of European culture, Arthur Shopenhauer, thought to his students that desire is futile and it has to be avoided by humans. Then, the same students caught him in brothels, and they asked him how was that coherent with his philosophy. His answer was “philosophy does not need witnesses [to work]”. Shopenhauer’s logic was right: the validity of his theory is independent from his behavior. Yet, by contradicting it with his behaviour, he clearly showed its philosophy was but an elegant rhetoric game, which I believe made him lost many followers at the time. Or maybe, it was the beginning of a leadership generation that thought you could be effective even if you don’t walk the talk, referring to Shopenhauer as an example…

    08 Jun 2014, 16:20

  2. Shujaat Alikhan

    That’s an interesting example Carlo.

    I guess it’s true that you can teach someone to do something right, although you dont do it, but just dont let them know. But that would just be like a good salesperson trying to sell something when deep down inside they don’t like the product that much, but they have to make it look like to others that the salesperson is passionate and believes the product will work.

    I guess in Shopenhauer’s case, he shouldn’t have got caught! Or what are the students doing there???....

    08 Jun 2014, 16:33

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