Organisational Development #4
Leadership and Safety
Posted on 16.11.2018
Outdoors Queensland encourages our Green Circle Members and other businesses operating in the outdoor sector to review the way they manage their businesses, and provides appropriate easy access resources.
We have developed this set of resources because we believe there is a need for small to medium business in the outdoor sector to improve the way they operate, manage staff, market and present themselves to their potential clients.
Read more on the Organisational Development page
Leadership and Safety
November last year, I lead some interesting work. This was in my “non-corporate” time.
In my capacity as “Work Safely at Heights Supervisor” I was engaged by the British television company ITV to run the height safety for both their film crews and the celebrities in a “live” episode of the British version of “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” at a site with rocky cliffs and deep gorges in SE Qld
I engaged three of my similarly skilled and qualified associates and spent 3 days on this job. Day 1 was a recce day to sort what they wanted to do, Day 2 was a setup day where we got rigs ready or at least decided how to rig what and Day 3 was filming.
On the day we had 5 of 3-man camera/sound crews on rock along with 4 celebrities, their WHS adviser and sundry others. Everyone had to be safe. Oh yeah and their cameras were worth $170k each so they were pretty keen to look after them too.
Interestingly, the easiest person to keep safe was the cameraman who we hung 10 metres down the 30 m abseil cliff. Once he was harnessed up and provided with a bosun’s chair, we lowered him and his camera into place and tied him off – he was going nowhere and behaved impeccably (he had no choice).
The most difficult was another cameraman who saw us as nuisances and said so. We smiled and spent the day ensuring that anytime he went near an edge, we clipped him into a fall restraint system. To be honest – this was a pain and took up time and effort that the others did not require.
However, no one was hurt, and we received very complimentary feedback from our clients about our speed, skill and obsession with safety.
Oh, and by the way – we had fun! One of our riggers suffers from dry skin and had Nivea in his kit – he was the brunt of much hilarity during the day. I got heaps because I am nearly 50 years older than our youngest rigger.
My point here – staying on the reluctant cameraman’s case was a leadership job – we provided for him what he couldn’t or wouldn’t provide for himself at the time. We recognised that this was short term and did what had to be done to get the necessary outcome – 100% survival.
In the longer term, if he worked for me, we would be having some solid conversations about the necessity to stay safe. First simply because I care and second because it’s me who gets hung out to dry if something happens to him.
There is no formula for leadership – you may have some sound principles, but how they hit the ground often depends on what’s going on at the time. No one approach works all the time, so you have to think and evaluate how to apply the principles at the time.
How are you going applying the principles outlined in your SOPs?
Are you cheerful and flexible in your approach?
What could you do more of in order to be more effective?
It’s worth standing back from the action occasionally and thinking about these things, good leadership takes time, it also gets people on board – and that’s when good things really start happening!
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