One of the main roles a leader should fulfill is providing a sense of purpose to the team, which falls in line with the wider organizational goals such as safety vision, or diversity, and inclusion.
Individually we have an annual capability conversation with the manager. This is a time to exchange feedback, good and bad, on the performance of an individual on given tasks and on various railway competencies. Leaders who provide good feedback show that they are watching the team, which in itself can motivate those who may be slacking, to perform better.
Specific feedback makes people feel valued and provides a means for them to improve themselves, performance-related, or through continued learning.
The Sentinel competency system requires some mentorship following the completion of a safety-critical course, such as an Authorised Person (AP). Whilst the course that the individual may have been will have answered most questions and provided best practice, it cannot answer all questions and predict all situations that an AP may find themselves in, hence the mentorship for continued personal progression to become an experienced AP.
Mentorship will consist of shadowing an experienced worker or having someone provide feedback on what may or may not be required to improve. With this feedback, the mentee can improve their systems to become more experienced. Being dropped in such a powerful and safety-critical position may be overwhelming and stressful to a lot of people, particularly when something goes wrong. This is quite demotivating, so the mentorship will eradicate such feelings by fulfilling the individual’s psychological needs such as belonging and self-esteem.
In the depot, our manager supports and develops those in the team by constantly rotating staff members through differing roles to firstly keep the word ‘interesting’ and secondly, to ensure that they do not suffer too much from skills fade. Some members have expressed an interest in just doing one type of job and their wish has, on the whole, been accepted. As we are trusted to conduct our own day-to-day jobs in response to planned work, we have regular meetings as a team so there can be feedback on processes in an attempt to improve and make them more efficient. Placing this trust in the team continues to empower them to make their own judgments and take on their own responsibilities. In our last safety meeting, we were tasked with making some improvements to the isolation process, in the light of recent safety lapses elsewhere on the network. Some of those suggestions put forward can be passed to senior management who in turn will suggest to the panel in-charge of improving the isolation process in line with British Electrical Standards.