Wednesday, January 16, 2013

High Reliability Leaders

There are several industries that are known for their reliability. They provide a level of consistency that we take for granted.

When you use your ATM card do you get consistent and accurate service? Of course you do, because the banking industry has committed to doing it right every time.

How many of you were on a flight last year? The reason you're reading this is because the commercial airline industry provides a level of safety and performance that demonstrates their commitment to doing it right every time.

Lastly, for those of us that flip light switches on and off all day we've come to expect our energy to be there when we need it. The nuclear power industry provides a massive amount of energy, and they do it safely and consistently.

All three share one thing in common: a total commitment to performing as high reliability industries.

But people are not industries, are they?

As an HR practitioner I've spent countless hours over the years working with leaders who struggle with their own leadership style. What makes their performance different from the high reliability industries listed above? I'm sure they would say they are committed to doing well. I'm sure they want to be effective, right?

What's different?

One of the most frustrating aspects of my work is when I am that inconsistent leader we all try so hard to avoid. My colleagues, my team members, and the employees in my organization rely on me to provide a level of service and professionalism every day. Am I committed? Yes. Do I want to be effective in my work? You're damn right I do.

What's different with me?

I bet you feel like you do a pretty good job. I'm guessing you do perform at a high level most of the time too. But if we're going to be honest with each other, you probably aren't at the top of your game all of the time, right? But you're committed and give so much of yourself to your work....but....

What's different with you?

How About You
Perhaps the answer isn't necessarily about commitment, but rather committing differently? Maybe focusing on trust, constant improvement and reporting our results (good or bad) will help us achieve the lofty status of being a high reliability leader. What do you think would make the difference?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit  photo credit


  1. Being a reliable leader is not as difficult as the fame makes it sound.... It is important to note that - teams win or lose the game...leaders do not. Having said that, there are certain qualities essential to becoming a reliable leader and all of them boil down to becoming a good person at heart. a few litmus tests for understanding a good leader in professional life 1) The vision the leader has for his work 2) pursuit of knowledge as means 3) quiet and hard working