Are you clear on the difference between the two?
Managing is about doing things right.
The emphasis: efficiency. Whatever it is that needs to be done, the utilisation of management techniques will get it done faster. It’s tactical. It asks “how can we achieve xyz?”
Leadership is about doing the right things.
The emphasis: effectiveness. If the things that are getting done are not the things that should be getting done, then progress in the completely wrong direction will be the result. It’s strategical. It asks “why do we want to achieve xyz?”
Good management without good leadership compounds the problem.
Get it wrong with matters concerning health and safety, and you could drop the ball, with disastrous consequences.
To get it right, here are a few things that the top leaders within an organisation could/should be doing:
- Not allowing health and safety to play second fiddle to other organisational objectives (like turning a profit).
- Providing adequate resources for health and safety (management infrastructure, training, equipment, adequate time to do work safely).
- Not tolerating sub-par health and safety performance from anyone, in any area of the business (including the wider supply chain).
- Ensuring that there is an appropriate system in place to manage health and safety and keep it under review.
- Instilling a positive health and safety culture throughout the organisation (“people like us treat health and safety with the respect it deserves.”)
- Leading by example at all times in all matters.
- Having the wisdom to realise that this stuff is often not urgent, but is always important, every minute, every day, every year (procrastination on the important is not the trait of an exceptional leader).