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Skills for Safety – Part Two

Cotney safety skills part two
September 27, 2022 at 9:00 a.m.

By John Kenney, Cotney Consulting Group.

Two safety skills you need to stay on top of your company's safety culture and goals.

In part one, we covered the first two skills that your safety managers, project managers and on-site supervising personnel need to develop and implement safety strategies successfully. In part two, we cover the final two skills to ensure your safety strategies are not aligned at the project level but also with your company's overall safety culture and goals.

Political skills

This skill is the ability to understand others at work and to use that knowledge to influence them to act in ways that enhance your personal and organizational objectives. Politically skilled managers expect to experience resistance to their attempts to get things done but keep taking the initiative. They carefully select their endeavors in ways that eventually produce the results they desire.

Political skill consists of four components; social astuteness, interpersonal influence, networking ability and sincerity.

  1. Social astuteness - A person who is a perceptive observer of others and knowingly aware of diverse social situations, as well as sensitive to others. They are perceived as ingenious in dealing with others.
  2. Interpersonal influence - A convincing personal style that strongly influences people around them. Individuals with these skills are flexible and can appropriately adapt their behavior to each situation to extract specific responses from others. Individuals high in interpersonal influence appear to others as pleasant and productive, but they also can control their environments.
  3. Networking - The ability to develop and use diverse networks of people. This is valuable and necessary for achieving successful personal and organizational functions. People with high networking ability are often expert negotiators, deal makers and at ease with conflict management.
  4. Sincerity - This competency is key to influencing others because it focuses on the perceived intentions of an exhibited behavior. People high in sincerity inspire trust and confidence because they do not appear to be manipulative or coercive. Their influence attempts will be successful when no ulterior motives exist behind the behavior.

Project management personnel must demonstrate a genuine interest in safety by utilizing their political skill. This will influence project team members to recognize the importance of safety in the project and convince them to consider safety equally important as the other project objectives. Furthermore, project crew members may sometimes be unwilling to offer their help and support on safety unless they feel it is in their interests. Project management personnel must use political skills to cultivate relationships and make the necessary deals to improve safety. The political skill also enables them to adapt their behavior and influence tactics to suit others to compel them to implement safety strategies for accomplishing and maintaining a safe work environment.

Technical skills

This skill is the job-specific knowledge and techniques required to perform specific tasks proficiently. It involves specialized knowledge, the analytical ability within that specialty, and facility in using the tools and techniques of the specific discipline.

There are six components to be mastered within technical skills:

  1. Scheduling - This involves an understanding of determining the dates to perform different activities, recognizing the activities that accelerate other activities, and determining when the activities are due.
  2. Budgeting and cost management - This involves determining the types and quantities of resources needed to perform various project activities, developing cost estimations for the resources, and allocating the budget to the individual work activities while controlling changes to the project budget.
  3. Quality management - Includes activities such as identifying relevant quality standards and determining how to meet them. Periodically evaluating project performance to provide confidence that the project will meet the criteria and monitoring specific results to assess their compliance with the standards and find ways to eliminate unsatisfactory performance.
  4. Document and contract administration - Understanding of procedures for implementing construction contracts according to the accepted practices and regulations within our industry. It includes setting up a management system for keeping records and reports of daily activities.
  5. Risk management - Involves five steps: identification, assessment, mitigation, monitoring and reporting. Every roofing project involves risks, whether cost, time, quality or safety and environmental related. You must be equipped with risk management skills to manage project risks to achieve project objectives.
  6. Procurement management - Includes the processes necessary to acquire goods and services from outside a company, such as subcontractors, vendors and suppliers.

Regarding safety management, your project management personnel must exercise technical skills to ensure that all site activities are safely performed. For example, you need the risk management skill to identify, evaluate and manage safety risks. Combined risk management, budgeting and scheduling skills make your management personnel realize the severe impacts of an accident on their project. Using procurement skills, project management personnel can evaluate bid submissions and award work packages to subcontractors with accurate pricing and good safety records. Document and contract administration skills are essential to ensure that all safety-related documents, permits, audits, procedures, daily reports and policies are processed and distributed on time to all involved parties.


Safety managers, project managers and on-site supervising personnel are imperative in developing, implementing and evaluating safety management strategies in roofing projects. We discussed four essential skills and the components your management team needs to execute their safety roles successfully in your company.

Managers, both at the organizational and project levels, should be aware of the influence of these skills on safety management. Working with your human resource department in developing a hiring and training program to assess and prioritize this skill development will enable your management team to lead and implement winning safety strategies.

Furthermore, your management personnel should understand their strengths and weaknesses to tailor their skill development process to their needs and existing skill sets.

Learn more about Cotney Consulting Group in their directory or visit www.cotneyconsulting.com.

About John Kenney

John Kenney is the Chief Executive Officer at Cotney Consulting Group. Prior to starting Cotney, John had 45 years of experience in the construction industry. John began his career by working as a roofing apprentice at a family business in the Northeast. Because of his skill and hard work, he progressed from roofing laborer to foreman, estimator, chief estimator, Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer with his various companies. John has worked for multiple Top 100 Roofing Contractors and is intimately familiar with all aspects of roofing production, estimating, and operations. In his last role, John was responsible for the daily operations and performance of a large commercial roofing contractor. During his tenure, John ran business units associated with delivering excellent workmanship and unparalleled customer service while ensuring healthy net profits for his company.

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