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Human Factors based leadership

humanfactors

To optimize safety, quality and efficiency in complex organizations it requires deep knowledge of among other things; interaction between humans, technology & organization, external and internal conditions, abilities and limitations under different conditions and how these interact (this is not static but must be constantly developed and changed in line with an increasingly complex world). But also, for example, knowledge of all the factors that affect our ability to perform tasks and to live up to requirements and expectations. Therefore, many organizations around the world have appointed experts who only work with issues in the subject of Human Factors, these act as experts to the management, participate as experts in investigations and training, they are consulted in connection with complex personnel matters, conduct development and research projects, review training materials and other documentation, gives lectures and collaborates with other organizations to gain knowledge and information about lessons learned and experiences. It is a work carried out behind the scenes of a kind of spider in the web.

Human Factors is a very complex subject. It is interdisciplinary and cannot be boiled down and simplified. A lot of research is conducted in the subject and in the organizations that have come the furthest, the Human Factors work has a prominent position and is a high priority. Some examples of educational background in the subject of Human Factors are psychologist degree or other degree in psychology such as MSc, MS or PhD, medical doctor with postgraduate education or specialization, civil engineer with postgraduate education in psychology, cognitive science (or equivalent), and so on.
In order for the Human Factors subject to be given the necessary space, regardless of whether you work with education, investigations or development, is acceptance, understanding and priority for the subject required all the way up in the management. Of course, acceptance should be present at all levels, but in the event that other levels lack knowledge and understanding for or even oppose issues, it is, if nothing else, entirely fundamental that management has the ability to make a correct prioritization. If the right conditions are not in place at management level, it will not only be difficult to work with, but then the results also risk being affected, which in the sharp end is, among other things, safety. The effect can also lead to very poor conditions for those who work with just Human Factors. It not only affects the subject as such but also gives an incorrect indication to other employees about how the Human Factors work should be prioritized in the organization but also about its value for the organisation.

But leadership is not only important for the acceptance and survival of the Human Factors subject, leadership is also an area within the subject Human Factors that is therefore relevant for educational purposes. All forms of leadership are linked to performance and thus quality and efficiency among employees. It is not uncommon for activities to be conducted in a manner and covered by requirements and expectations in which the leadership neither constitutes nor provides the necessary conditions. Nevertheless is leadership present not only within the management but in the whole organisation. Therefore, it is important not to forget the leadership within Human Factors as an important area to focus on and educate within the organization.

Take care and have nice weekend!

/Jens O. Hjortensjö

 

 

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