While attending the DUG East Conference in Pittsburgh this past June, I did what I usually do at a conference: listen, learn and endeavor to meet new people and inform them about all of the good works being done.
I also experienced some new and different things. For example, I turned 55 – that’s different; and, I also had the opportunity to attend a prayer breakfast that was sponsored by the local chapter of the Oilfield Christian Fellowship – that was new (and well worth it). The keynote speaker at the breakfast meeting was an impressive gentleman by the name of Mr. Mark A. McCollum. In addition to being the Chief Integration Officer for Halliburton, Mr. McCollum is a very engaging and thought-provoking speaker, as we all discovered that morning. Mr. McCollum talked about leadership and specifically the concept of the “shadow of leadership.”
As I understood it, the main takeaway was that each leader in an organization casts a shadow. Leaders project this shadow, regardless of whether they realize it or not – regardless if they want to or not. So, depending on the individual leader, this shadow can touch colleagues, employees, basically everyone in an organization, in a variety of ways. Accordingly, it is important for leaders to have an awareness of his or her shadow of leadership and the effects on the organization.
Does the leader’s shadow empower employees? Does it provide motivation and direction to meet important company goals?
I found Mr. McCollum’s speech to be very powerful and I have been thinking about how the concept applies to the very important topic of safety in the workplace. Since entering the workforce as a geologist several decades ago, I have worked in remote locations, active refineries and just about every place in between and in every type of weather. I have been very fortunate to have worked for and with some excellent professionals that understood the importance of having good safety programs in place and developing a safety culture within the organization. I have also been actively involved developing safety programs and cultures.
Although safety was always important, I have observed that some organizations have had better “luck” than others achieving their goals. Why do some organizations have better “luck” developing a great safety culture where others seemed to struggle?
I now believe that the shadow of leadership concept was at play. The common thread to the successfully-developed safety cultures, is always, always, always the complete support and dedication of the company leaders. The leadership shadow of the safety leaders I have worked with, and that I have observed, touches everyone in their organizations in a very positive way. When the leadership shadow of a true safety leader touches employees, contractors and other stakeholders it becomes the bedrock that a successful safety culture is built upon.
So as a safety leader in my firm, I consider daily how my leadership shadow looks and feels to my customers and colleagues. Am I following our vehicle policies? Am I reporting near misses? Am I mentoring short service employees?
What does your leadership shadow look like?
Stay safe my friends.
The cold winter and wet spring we experienced this year has been beneficial to yellow jackets, whose numbers are up and the size of nests are larger than average.
With the Labor Day weekend coming up it's important to note that yellow jackets are attracted to animal protein and will see your holiday weekend cookout as an invitation. Be on the lookout. If you spot yellow jacket activity you can use a commercial yellow jacket trap baited daily with fresh meat or synthetic attractant .
These work quite well if enough are used (4 per average-sized yard). If you see a nest, stay well away from it to avoid aggravating the insects and triggering an attack.
Yellow jackets are much more aggressive than hornets but both are very protective of their nests. Mere vibrations from nearby foot traffic can cause an attack. The colony becomes more aggressive as it grows and this is why the majority of problems occur in late summer.
When you are outdoors over the next month or two, be sure to take a few seconds to look around for any wasps, hornets or yellow jackets that fly by and watch where they are headed. This may reveal a nearby nest, an area to avoid for sure!
We spray and slather on insect repellent with the best of intentions. While repellents are both necessary and helpful…they are not 100% effective. Nothing can substitute for frequent and thorough tick checks. They are necessary to keep you safe, regardless of the repellents you may be using or any other precautions you take.
So, while you may be using Permethrin, lemon-eucalyptus or Deep Woods Off...you can still find yourself with a tick.
If you are unfamiliar with this biological hazard and would like more information you can link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page HERE