OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created in 1970. Their mission is to ensure workplace health and safety. Fundamentally a good idea—to reduce workplace accidents and deaths and make sure careless employers are doing the right thing.
For hundreds of years there have been movements to reduce child labor, set standards for reasonable schedules, and create safer work environments. Much has changed, progress has been made.
Now, let’s take it to the next level. The popular author, speaker, and consultant Simon Sinek preaches safety at work—but he means psychic safety. In order to feel inspired, you must feel safe, he says.
In hospitality and sales, I’ve seen teams problem solve more effectively with more emotional safety. With greater safety I’ve seen teams gel and work more smoothly, quickly, and efficiently. With this kind of safety, work joy increases.
I’ve also seen the opposite. Where there isn’t safety, teams can get by but not excel. In one case, in a non-safe workplace, I witnessed, from the inside, a business fall apart and close.
Safety starts at the top. The founder, highest executive, or whoever is the biggest, headest honcho needs to set the tone and then follow up to make sure the tone reaches the ground floor.
Without safety at the top, mid level managers and line level employees can contribute some safety, but it will only exist in a little bubble and never spread.
To lead successfully: safety first.