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A Great Safety Mentor and Leader always applies the G.R.O.W. principle of Safety

Many people have the idea that a mentor is someone who simply downloads information into a mentoree’s brain, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • In a good mentoring relationship, workplace knowledge is transferred by the mentor asks the mentoree probing questions, like: “What do you think would be the safest way to get this job done?” or “How are you feeling about your new responsibilities?” Keep the questions open-ended, meaning your mentoree cannot just say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
  • A mentoree could show you a few tricks – a new hire has a fresh perspective on a job you may have been doing for years. New ideas could mean better productivity, a safer or just more pleasant environment… maybe even recognition by the boss!

Being a mentor does not require filling in forms or getting permission – it’s a simple and straightforward as talking to and spending a little time with a new hire.

No one leadership style is best for all situations, but it’s useful to understand what your natural approach is, so you can develop skills that you may be missing. It’s unwise to neglect either tasks or people. But, equally, a compromise between the two approaches will likely result in only average team performance, because you neither meet people’s needs nor inspire excellent performance. GROW stands for:

  • G
  • Current R
  • Options (or Obstacles).
  • Will (or Way Forward).

The model was originally developed in the 1980s by performance coach Sir John Whitmore, although other coaches, such as Alan Fine and Graham Alexander, have also helped to develop it. A good way of thinking about the GROW Model is to think about how you’d plan a journey. First, you decide where you are going (the goal), and establish where you currently are (your current reality).

Blake Mouton Managerial Grid is based on two behavioral dimensions:

  • Concern for People:this is the degree to which a leader considers team members’ needs, interests and areas of personal development when deciding how best to accomplish a task.
  • Concern for Results:this is the degree to which a leader emphasizes concrete objectives, organizational efficiency and high productivity when deciding how best to accomplish a task.

Produce-or-Perish Management in Safety – High Results/Low People

Also known as “authoritarian” or “authority-compliance” managers, people in this category believe that their team members are simply a means to an end. The team’s needs are always secondary to its productivity.This type of manager is autocratic, has strict work rules, policies and procedures, and can view punishment as an effective way of motivating team members. This approach can drive impressive production results at first, but low team morale and motivation will ultimately affect people’s performance, and this type of leader will struggle to retain high performers.

Middle-of-the-Road Management in Safety – Medium Results/Medium People

A Middle-of-the-Road or “status quo” manager tries to balance results and people, but this strategy is not as effective as it may sound. Through continual compromise, he fails to inspire high performance and also fails to meet people’s needs fully. The result is that his team will likely deliver only mediocre performance.

Country Club Management in Safety – High People/Low Results

The Country Club or “accommodating” style of manager is most concerned about her team members’ needs and feelings. She assumes that, as long as they are happy Add to My Personal Learning Plan and secure, they will work hard. What tends to be the result is a work environment that is very relaxed and fun, but where productivity suffers because there is a lack of direction and control.

Team Management  in Safety – High Production/High People

Team management is the most effective leadership style. It reflects a leader who is passionate about his work and who does the best he can for the people he works with.

Team or “sound” managers commit to their organization’s goals and mission, motivate the people who report to them, and work hard to get people to stretch themselves to deliver great results. But, at the same time, they’re inspiring figures who look after their teams. Someone led by a Team manager feels respected and empowered, and is committed to achieving her goals.

Team managers prioritize both the organization’s production needs and their people’s needs. They do this by making sure that their team members understand the organization’s purpose Add to My Personal Learning Plan, and by involving them in determining production needs.

When people are committed to, and have a stake in, the organization’s success, their needs and production needs coincide. This creates an environment based on trust and respect, which leads to high satisfaction, motivation and excellent results.

Paternalistic Management in Safety. A Paternalistic manager will jump between the Country Club and Produce-or-Perish styles. This type of leader can be supportive and encouraging, but will also guard his own position – he won’t appreciate anyone questioning the way he thinks.

Opportunistic Management in Safety. This doesn’t appear on the grid because this style can show up anywhere within it. An Opportunistic manager places her own needs first, shifting around the grid to adopt whichever style will benefit her. She will manipulate and take advantage of others to get what she wants.

When leaders coach their team members, or act as mentors to them, this may or may not apply. On one hand, it’s more powerful for people to draw conclusions for themselves, rather than having these conclusions thrust upon them. On the other hand, as a team leader, you’ll often have expert knowledge to offer. Also, it’s your job to guide team members to make decisions that are best for your organization.  Hence they are MINDFULL in their listening first!

What Is Mindful Listening?

It  means “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Mindfulness encourages you to be aware of the present moment, and to let go of distractions and your physical and emotional reactions to what people say to you. When you’re not mindful, you can be distracted by your own thoughts and worries, and fail to see and hear what other people are doing and saying.

The goal of mindful listening is to silence the internal noise of your own thoughts, so that you can hear the whole message, and so that the speaker feels understood.

There are only three key elements of mindful listening that you can use to improve your listening skills:

  1. Being present.When you listen mindfully, your focus should be on the person you are listening to, without distractions. So, how do you do that?
  • Simplify your surroundings:
  • Give yourself time:
  • Meditate: 
  1. Cultivating empathy.We often see the world through the lens of our own experiences, personality and beliefs. When you’re empathic, you can understand a situation from someone else’s point of view.
  2. Listening to your own “cues.”According to Scott, our cues are the thoughts, feelings and physical reactions we have when we feel anxious or angry, and they can block out ideas and perspectives that we’re uncomfortable with. Mindful listening can help us to be more aware of our cues, and allow us to choose not to let them block communication.

The rule is straightforward: simply “Listen!” Listen carefully and attentively. Pay complete attention to the other person, and don’t let other thoughts – like what you are going to say next – distract you.

Zen Listening in Safety is mindful listening helps you to:

  • Retain information.
  • Pause before you speak so you can consider the effect of your words.
  • Pay attention for longer.
  • Boost your self-esteem.

Modern life is full of distractions  like TV, radio, traffic noise, telephones, and laptops, which can make it difficult to listen with our full attention.

When we do listen, we can tend to act on “autopilot,” nodding and agreeing without really hearing the meaning of the words. We might interrupt, dominate the conversation, or think of what we’re going to say next while the other person is talking. We can also be quick to judge, criticize and contradict people if their opinions don’t match our own.

Self-interest keeps our own thoughts and needs in the front of our minds, pushing the speaker to the back. Prejudice, past experiences, personal motives, and negative self-talk  can also make you focus on yourself.

When you listen mindfully, you are fully present in the moment, which means you can absorb the speaker’s whole message, and he can feel heard and respected.

Blake Mouton Model , the most effective leaders value tasks and people equally. They commit to their organization’s goals and motivate their team members to do the same. At the same time, they do everything they can to look after their people’s interests. This might include helping your team to deal with issues, making sure that they are happy at work, and taking the time to build relationships with them.

But you can only help your team members to reach their full potential and meet their objectives by getting to know them. The best way to do this is to hold regular, structured, one-on-one meetings with each of them. This allows you to keep them focused on their objectives, and helps them to understand their contribution to the “bigger picture.”

Path–Goal Theory . This theory can help managers to adapt their leadership style to the specific wants and needs of their team, and their current situation (for example, team relationships, structured or unstructured tasks, repetitive or complex workloads). Using this tool can help you to assess how often you should have one-on-ones with your team members.

Without regular one-on-ones, however, team members’ work might be overlooked and development opportunities forgotten about. Other workplace problems, such as team disputes or mistakes, could also be ignored. This could result in a nasty surprise for you as the manager responsible for your team’s performance, especially if it’s something that has gotten out of your control. If this happens, your relationship with your team could deteriorate, and any trust that you’ve already built up could collapse. People might even decide to leave because you didn’t deal with the issues promptly and thoroughly.

Remember that feedback shouldn’t just move in one direction. Team members may also have valuable things to say about the way the team is being managed, whether it’s functioning as a unit, and what some possible solutions might be.

There are five key ingredients for making your one-on-one meeting a “recipe for success.”

  1. The Right Venue

Make the venue for your one-on-one comfortable for both of you. Why not even go out for a coffee, if time and circumstance allows?

  1. The Right Timing

Commit to holding your one-on-ones regularly, and stick to it. Whether the meeting is weekly or fortnightly, make it a date in your diary – being mindful of differing time zones for virtual team members – that can be moved only in extreme circumstances

  1. The Right Scope

Ensure that you cover what you both need to in the meeting, and only that. Anything from 15 minutes to an hour will likely be effective, depending on your agenda.

  1. The Right Tone

One-on-ones present you with a golden opportunity to find out what’s really going on in your team, and how your team members are really feeling. They are also a safe space for your people to say what they think and how they feel.

Take the right tone by reducing the “power gap” between you and your team members. Do this by finding the right balance between being open and being professional. This balance will depend on the person and the circumstance – you might fall into an informal tone with ease with some members of your team, while others will prefer you to take a more formal approach.

  1. The Right Outcomes

It’s easy to hear ideas when you’re engaged in a conversation, and then forget them when you’re plunged back into your everyday work. So be sure to agree clear conclusions about what needs to be achieved before your next meeting together, what his responsibilities will be after the current meeting has ended, and how his progress will be measured.

Using this tools can help you to assess how often you should have one-on-ones with your team members.

It’s important to have a clear, agreed agenda beforehand, as an unfocused meeting can be an ineffective one. Keep your eye on the time, wrap up points, and make sure that the discussion moves on. However, it’s also important to be flexible, and to give people time to air their issues properly. Make sure that you cover all of the points that your team member wants to address in enough detail, and that he knows what’s expected of him.

  1. Establish the Goal

First, you and your team member need to look at the behavior that you want to change, and then structure this change as a goal  that she wants to achieve. Make sure that this is a SMART goal: one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

  1. Examine the Current Reality

Next, ask your team member to describe his current reality.

This is an important step. Too often, people try to solve a problem or reach a goal without fully considering their starting point, and often they’re missing some information that they need in order to reach their goal effectively.

Useful coaching questions in this step include the following:

  • What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)? What is the effect or result of this?
  • Have you already taken any steps towards your goal?
  • Does this goal conflict with any other goals or objectives?
  1. Explore the Options

Once you and your team member have explored the current reality, it’s time to determine what is possible – meaning all of the possible options for reaching her objective.

Typical questions that you can use to explore options are as follows:

  • What else could you do?
  • What if this or that constraint were removed? Would that change things?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
  • What factors or considerations will you use to weigh the options?
  • What do you need to stop doing in order to achieve this goal?
  • What obstacles stand in your way?
  1. Establish the Will

By examining the current reality and exploring the options, your team member will now have a good idea of how he can achieve his goal. That’s great – but in itself, this may not be enough. The final step is to get your team member to commit to specific actions in order to move forward towards his goal. In doing this, you will help him establish his will and boost his motivation.

Useful questions to ask here include:

  • So, what will you do now, and when? What else will you do?
  • What could stop you moving forward? How will you overcome this?
  • How can you keep yourself motivated?
  • When do you need to review progress? Daily, weekly, monthly?

GROW is an acronym that stands for:

  • Goal
  • Current Reality.
  • Options (or Obstacles).
  • Will (or Way Forward).

You can use the model to help team members improve performance, and to help them plan for and reach their longer-term career objectives.

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