Improving an organization's culture directly relates to improved safety, two leading training specials say, adding it also can provide a boost to efficiency. During Bombardier’s Safety Standdown on Wednesday, JD McHenry and Rich Bean, the respective CEO and president of business aviation maintenance training provider GlobalJet Services, emphasized the importance of the “human side” of culture, particularly how leaders and managers interact with their teams.
“We work really hard on the technical skills, but I think it’s time we really focus on our soft skills” to build a positive culture, McHenry said.
“If you want to enhance your safety culture, if you want to enhance…the people who work around you and yourself, you have to be a leader,” Bean added.
The trouble is, many skilled professionals are rewarded by being promoted into a leadership role, but they aren’t given proper training for it, McHenry said, and they are not prepared for that role.
McHenry and Bean stressed that leadership and management have two very different definitions. Leadership “comes from the heart,” providing vision, inspiration, and motivation; while management “comes from the mind,” and is focused on process and project completion.
Both skills are very important for everyone and should be used continuously, both at work and at home. “If you are happy at your home life, you are going to be happy at work,” Bean said.
With that in mind, he said GlobalJet does what it can to foster that on both sides, including keeping an open dialog on home issues. Also, GlobalJet discovered flexibility has helped tremendously with efficiency. The company adopted core hours when everyone must be at work: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. To fulfill a full day, employees can choose to come in earlier or leave later. In addition, the company put early leave on Fridays in place. Since adopting those policies, the company saw an 85 percent increase in efficiency in various departments. “If you take care of people, they will take care of the business for you.”
They noted that despite the assumption that money motivates work, appreciation for a job well done goes a long way. A simple thank you “in my opinion is the number one motivator,” McHenry said.
Also, empowering the employees, bringing them in, and making them feel included in the conversation, will give them a stake in the success of an organization.
Bean advised attendees to tap into their own emotional intelligence and learn how to be empathic and listen to others. “This is the direction we are going in this industry.”
They cautioned against negativity and allowing anger to control actions. This approach will leave lasting impressions on people. “Once you start bad-mouthing and criticizing others, you start building a negative environment.“ This can snowball and get out of control.
The goal is to talk as positively as a leader can and set the example to encourage synergy and a cohesive unit, Bean said.
“When you want to create a safety culture, you want to enhance safety, and you want to do things better. You have to be more synergetic…. that’s the direction we need to go as an industry,” Bean said.
“We are adamant about being 100 percent a team in our company,” McHenry added.