KMP Safety Blog for the month of August 2020.

By David Applegate, EHS Manager


If you’re a leader — keeping drumming!

Once upon a time, we had a Music Band that played at our church during the Worship portion of the Sunday service.  The Drummer in the band was a young fellow that had only been playing the drums for a short while.  So, at times, during their rehearsals he would not be keeping the right beat or the correct rhythm; and, his musical gaffe was obvious to everyone in the band.

Let me explain, if the keyboard player or the person playing the guitar were to ever start going in a different direction with the music of a song they would be praised and extolled for using their musical gifts and talents.  People may even cheer for them as they improvise, adlib, and become creative with the rhythm.  If the Drummer, however, decides to play too fast or too slow it will cause the song to go in many different directions.  The band will be out of sync, and everyone will realize it.  The reason for this reaction is that the drums keep the band together.  The musical unity of the band depends upon the drums.  They provide the tempo.  They supply the speed.  The drums keep, what we non-musical people often call, “the beat.”

I told you that short story so I can now say that work crews, office personal, and managers all look to the Leader to keep everything in tune with the “team”.  If you are the leader of a team or work crew on any level you are responsible to keep the rhythm, always be in tune, and arrange the alignment of the team with the vision and values of the company.  If the leader is not keeping the beat, the team will be out of rhythm.  In my view, it is the leader who provides the pace and establishes the beat through both their attitude and actions.

When you think of your work crew it is imperative that you view them as team members who are looking to you for direction and to keep them unified much like a Drummer in a Band.  Your job is to continually remind them of the values, reinforcing the direction, reiterating the vision, affirming those who are with you, and correcting those who are out of sync.

On one final note, those in leadership usually have to listen closely to hear the first notes that are not in rhythm.  At times this will demand a discerning ear; one that is capable of hearing low murmurings, quiet whispering, and soft-spoken secrets.  While at other times, the disharmony and wrong tempo among the crew members is quite loud and can be heard clearly, distinctly and unmistakably.  As the leader, it is your responsibility to keep the unity of the spirit for your team.  And remember, unity, harmony, tempo, and rhythm are not proper moral issues of conduct that we can just conjure up when we need them.  They are key pieces of a leadership-puzzle that we must build over time, through the habits we put into practice daily.