Belinda Liversedge reports from the recent Safety & Health Expo.

Is it a surprise that leadership is such a hot topic in health and safety? In the age of Trump and disillusionment with MPs and the Government, we can no longer take it as read to expect ‘good leadership’ from those at the top.

At the Safety & Health Expo held at London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre in June, there were many talks geared towards that all important question: what makes a good leader, and how as health and safety professionals, can we influence leaders to take health and safety seriously?

Geoff McDonald, former VP of Human Resources at Unilever, was diagnosed with anxiety-fuelled depression after a breakdown that seemed to come out of nowhere. Now a professional speaker at events like TEDx, he is a champion for reframing conditions like his as signs of positive leadership traits. “Winston Churchill, Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln [all had mental health issues]. I long for the day when somebody goes into an interview and talks about their mental ill health challenges, and the interviewer says: ‘You know what? This person might be a better listener, more caring, more empathetic. This person has gone through significant challenges and continues to overcome them. That’s the sort of leader I want in my organisation’.”

Kevin H

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