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ASSP Research: Authentic Leadership and its Impact on Workplace Safety Culture


What does it take to be an authentic leader? New research from the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) sheds light on the direct relationship between authentic leadership and workplace safety, and reveals several tips that can help safety professionals improve the “four factors” correlated with authentic leaders.

The study, published in the ASSP journal, Professional Safety, is based on a survey of Midwestern delivery truck drivers, salespeople, managers, retail store workers, and employees who fill compressed gas cylinders and load trucks. They rated “authentic leadership” and safety climate on a five-point scale.

Research revealed that there was a definitive correlation between authentic leadership and improved workplace safety culture. The researchers also identified four authentic leadership styles, and how to improve them:

  1. Self-awareness. To boost self-awareness, solicit feedback from others, but especially followers (direct reports), to better understand how you are viewed in the workplace.
  2. “Balanced Processing” methods. Intentionally solicit views that differ from your own opinions, carefully cultivate and analyze objective data and listen to others before making a decision. 
  3. Relational transparency. Communicate in a direct manner, admit mistakes, encourage others to speak their minds, show honesty, be consistent with emotions and tell followers the truth even when it’s difficult.
  4. Internalized moral perspective. Show integrity and consistency with your beliefs and actions, make decisions that align with your core values, encourage others to take a position on their core values and make decisions based on high ethical standards.

Access the study and more information on the ASSP press release.

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