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Leadership insight: Graham Parker, head of health and safety, Mapeley Estates

Published on: 10 Jan 2018

Graham Park

Leadership insight: Graham Parker, head of health and safety, Mapeley Estates

Parker says that success depends on encouraging others to take on responsibility for safety and health.

“I have always made things simple enough that you almost work yourself out of a position because that way you know it has been embedded in what they do on the shopfloor,” he says. “You can then sample and make sure that what they are doing is right rather than firefighting problems all the time.”

That transfer of responsibilities, which meant that not every night was filled with work during his year as IOSH’s 50th president, works only if the OSH management is fitted closely to the culture of the organisation, he says. This adaptation is one of the components of good leadership.

“You have to understand the heartbeat of the organisation and how to complement its culture. So, my style of leadership is a bit chameleon-like. I know what I want to do and where I need to get to, but I have to use their processes and their system.

“Human nature is to go the laziest way. People take shortcuts because it’s easiest. So, you develop an approach that people will find easy to follow without losing sight of your standards.”

Leadership also relies on understanding your limitations and strengths, he observes, and working with both. “It’s about knowing when you need to ask for guidance; knowing when you need a mentor; and that you can be mentored by your peer group.”

Read IOSH Magazine’s full interview with Graham Parker: