COP or COACH

Posted: January 16, 2013 in Leadershio, Safety Culture
Tags: , , , ,

In terms of safety, most managers/supervisors have a distinct style that can be classified as either a COP or a COACH.   The COP is one that enforces all rules, everything is black and white, discipline any incident, etc.   The COACH is one that is not an active participant in the game but rather one on the sidelines not getting dirty.  As long as nobody gets hurt – the COACH is happy.   Which of these styles is better?   Which of these styles work?

In my opinion, the most effective leader is both a COP and a COACH – you can be both and be very effective.    When it comes to laws, regulations, company rules, etc – the effective leader needs to be a COP.  If an employee is breaking the law – they need to be disciplined.   The effective leader needs to be consistent, fair, and practical when wearing the COP hat.   For instance, someone who blatantly breaks the LOTO regulation – needs to be terminated.   They should not be terminated only if they get hurt or hurt someone else.   It should not matter whether or not someone gets hurt – thus is a serious violation and the consequence is immediate termination.   Further, the person who breaks the rule should not matter – if it is an entry lever person, a seasoned veteran, or your best friend – the consequences must still be the same – immediate termination.    When it comes to culture – the effective leader needs to be a COACH.   The leader needs to train, educate, motivate, encourage the workforce in terms of safety just like a COACH would a sports team.   The leader needs to be active in building culture – just willing that a positive culture happens will not build culture.  The COACH must embrace the training, celebrate successes, learn from failures, and prepare and train for the next match.

It is a difficult task to be both a COP and a COACH – it takes a dedicated effort.     I will continue to encourage all leaders to be both a COP and a COACH – what will you do?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

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