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Safety Committees: Let's Talk About Personalities!

Posted by Marilyn Rivers on March 29, 2017 at 9:49 AM

I’m often asked how to best manage the risk and safety of a community. Like many of you across our great globe, I’d answer with one word – consensus. Consensus requires a mixture of hope, perseverance, courage, and partnership. Risk is about the ebb and flow of partnerships. Its achievement is often hard won and bittersweet, but extremely rewarding when all the planets align.

Our collective greatest resources are our people…our risk family. Let’s talk about the people that assist you in achieving your consensus. They come in all shapes and sizes with a multitude of personality. The composition of your team capitalizes on all its strengths and tries to minimize its weaknesses. Personalities manifest themselves in the idiosyncrasies of individual dress, mannerisms or speech. More often than not, we might agree that the more colorful the attire, the more colorful the personality, right? More importantly, the more colorful the partner, the more imaginative the opportunity for consensus!

Our partners in risk and safety are varied. Each of us brings our education, definition of common sense, upbringing, departmental needs and perception of reality to every risk and safety discussion we have.

Whoever said patience is a virtue missed the opportunity of being a public risk manager for a day. Many people we know may have preconceived notions about risk and the people who manage it. I often hear stories from my contemporaries who think that the public perceives us as ogres, trolls or people with a huge red marker with “NO” tattooed across our foreheads.

How many times have you been introduced by your boss to members of another division or the public and the comeback is “Why I’d never have guessed it was you who made my life miserable…I’ve always pictured you as something different.”

Safety Committees are a wonderful melting pot of reality and the opportunity for the totality of a group to be “different.” They have the capacity to offer sanctuary by embracing the richness of all of the personalities contained within the team, which results in the team coming together to achieve common goals. Embracing the acceptance of our differences and the nuances of our consensus is what makes our committee a macrocosm of the very best of who we all are.