Improving the Safety Culture through Effective Communication and Dialogue

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Type:  Best Practice

Publisher:  Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Human Resources and Leadership, Quality Assurance

A key trait exhibited in a healthy safety culture is effective safety communication, which includes a free flow of information where individuals communicate openly and candidly, both up, down, and across the organization.

The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations has pointed out that key behavioral examples of effective safety communication are present when:
  • Leaders encourage individuals to ask questions if they do not understand the basis of an
    operational or management decision;
  • Individuals share information openly and candidly;
  • Leaders respond to individuals in an open, honest, and non-defensive manner;
  • Leaders actively solicit feedback, listen to concerns, and communicate openly with all individuals.

The above behaviors have much in common with a communication process called "Dialogue." Accordingly, leaders can benefit by considering the nature of Dialogue and its application to communication about safety.

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