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Art of Persuasion and Safety leadership

September 7, 2014

Article By: Wayne J Harris

We can do it ISQEM

Last week I hosted a one day senior management workshop for a group of 20 managers.  The main purpose to change their attitudes and behaviours in regards to safety, management and leadership.

I decided to approach the workshop using techniques that would inspire them to look at how they interact at different levels with the workforce and most importantly develop their style of communication.

Throughout the training I only used the actual word “Safety” less than a dozen times. The reasons for this approach was to not to make it a safety training session, but a management change workshop using the art of persuasion.

It was only at the very end during my final closing statement that I asked for 3 things to be done that would help improve safety.  All 3 items involved zero cost and very little time or input by the managers.

I found that by using the art of persuasion and linking the workshop around their day-to-day work, the message that safety is an outcome rather than an overhead burden was fully understood.

Many of the delegates said it was the first safety training workshop they had attended that did not talk about safety all day, yet they learnt more and understood how it’s a crucial part of management and success of their business.

So what is Persuasion?

ISQEM Success

Persuasion is about influencing people. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person’s attitudes intentions, beliefs, motivations, customs, or behaviours.

In the business world, persuasion and safety are definitely linked, it is a process aimed at changing a person’s (or a group’s) attitude or behaviour towards work activities. This is achieved by written or spoken words to convey information, feelings, or reasoning.

Persuasion is also linked to a person’s acceptance to someone else’s personal capabilities.  If someone believes that an individual is an expert or knowledgeable in their field of expertise, they are more likely to accept the information being shared.

Taking it one more step up the leadership ladder

It is generally acknowledged that management requires multi-skilled individuals. The skills of planning, delegation, problem solving and communication are seen as critical for management and leadership roles. Yet surprisingly the skill of persuasion is still rarely acknowledged or utilised.

In today’s workplace environment, persuasion can be your key to make the safety changes your organisation desires.  Instead of telling people what to do, try persuading them instead, you might be surprised how much you will achieve.


Author: Wayne J Harris


One Comment
  1. Simon Philpot permalink

    Hi Wayne Nice article, I attended one of your leadership workshops in London a couple of years back. I have been using your techniques ever since with great success. Good to see your writing blog articles and sharing with others.

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