Effective Leadership Communication in 2020

NAEM Staff
November 5, 2020
2020 EHS&S Forum - Lara Malatesta, Allan Fernandes, Jon Kipp
While our business world has changed drastically over the last year, the fundamentals of leadership have not. At this year’s EHS&S Management Forum, there was focus on effective leadership and why it’s now more critical than ever for EHS&S program success. “We are at an inflection point in time,” says Sandy Nessing, Managing Director of Corporate Sustainability at AEP, “and EHS leaders are well-positioned to lead the way forward as conveners, influencers, and leaders.”

Here are a few of the leadership takeaways from the EHS&S leaders attending NAEM’s Forum.

#1: The way we get things done has changed, but people haven’t

“Safety is a people business. It is imperative to capture [employees’] hearts and minds to get everyone on board with changes!”
  • Many conversations at the Forum focused on how to take advantage of the changing landscape by adapting and growing while preparing for the future during this transformational period.
  • EHS&S leaders have been tasked with new responsibilities during COVID. This is a time where EHS&S professionals may be stretched to learn more while also having to create new systems and execute.

#2: Be proactive in acquiring knowledge and developing solutions

“Don’t bring upper management a problem; come to them with solutions to the problem.”
  • With less time to do more, there was clear consensus that effective strategy frames both challenges and best paths forward. Come with recommendations, evidence, and best practices.

#3: Communication is critical

“If you are interested in influencing action, what counts is what the other person heard, not what you said.”
  • Effective communication is your strongest tool — from the shop floor to the C-Suite. Focus on what you say, how you say it, and whether your audience is in a position to hear your message. It also means crafting a message based on your audience. Who you are communicating to is as important as what you say.
In a year of remote work and social distancing, the EHS&S Forum was a welcome opportunity to connect. Even though the EHS&S Forum was virtual, the Forum delivered on best practice sharing, peer-to-peer knowledge, and being a trusted space in which EHS&S managers come together and ultimately, grow as EHS&S leaders.

Please check out NAEM’s EHS&S leadership and careers resourcesfor more information, and be sure to mark your calendars for NAEM’s 2021 conferences. And, we welcome hearing from you, so send us any best practices for effective EHS&S leadership that you’d like to share with the NAEM community.

About the Author

NAEM Staff
The National Association for Environmental, Health and Safety, and Sustainability (EHS&S) Management (NAEM) empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces and promote global sustainability. As the leading business community for EHS&S decision-makers, we provide engaging forums, a curated network, peer benchmarking, research insights and tools for solving today’s corporate EHS&S management challenges. Visit us online at naem.org.

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