5 Soft Skills of the Influential Safety Professional
Safety Professionals share a lot in common with salespeople and motivational speakers. Not only do you need to have in-depth knowledge of safety principles and practices, but you also need to be able to effectively communicate with and influence others in a positive way. Here are five essential skills that every safety professional needs to develop to be influential 1. Communication Skills Safety professionals need to be able to clearly and concisely communicate both verbally and in writing. We need to be able to explain complex safety concepts to those who may not have a lot of prior knowledge, as well as tailor their message to different audiences. We’re constantly putting things into context for everyone to easily understand. At the same time, we have to be active listeners to understand the concerns of others and address them accordingly. 2. Critical Thinking Skills Safety professionals need to be able to think critically in order to identify risks and hazards, as well as develop effective solutions. We also need to be able to assess situations quickly and make sound decisions under pressure. The ability to connect the dots swiftly after an accident helps us dive into its root cause, which makes for prevention. 3. Organizational Skills Safety professionals need to be organized in order to juggle multiple tasks and priorities at once. We have to create clear and concise reports that document accidents, incidents, and near-misses. Details matter; the clearer we can be on file, the easier it’ll be for future viewers to understand what happened. We need to keep accurate records of inspections, observations, and corrective actions taken to avoid future claims of negligence or poor handling. 4. People Skills Safety professionals need strong people skills so that they can build relationships with those they work with. We also need to be able to better understand the motivations of others in order to influence their behavior. Additionally, they need conflict resolution skills so that they can resolve disagreements in a productive manner. 5. Influencing Skills Safety professionals oftentimes have to get buy-in from others in order for safety initiatives to be successful. This means that we need strong skills of persuasion to convince others of the importance of safety without coming across as overbearing or pushy. Developing these five skills will help position you for success as an influential safety professional. We have to not only sell the vision of a positive safety culture, but also sell ourselves as true advocates representing our workers’ wellbeing. Learning is a lifelong process—so never stop honing your skills!