It’s true that there’s no such thing as the perfect workplace, and every job comes with its risks. Such is the case with Tesla, which was reported to have a rise in injury rate – particularly at Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant – reaching more than 30% higher than the industry average in 2014 and 2015.
In response to Worksafe’s report, and in order to lower the injury rate, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has hired thousands of new employees to create a third shift and reduce excess overtime.
Which is more, Musk sent an email to his employees where he shows how seriously he’s taking the issue. Here’s what he wrote:
“No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful.
Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.
This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.
Everyone will have equal access to parking, eating the same tables, and there will be no management offices. I am convinced that managers should work at the forefront, in the same work environment as the entire team. Even though I run the company myself, I still do not have my own office and often moved my workplace to the most challenging area in the factory and slept on the factory floor when there was a real crisis. Managers should always take care of their team before they take care of themselves – the supervisor is there to serve his team – not the other way round.”
This, if proven true to his word, is a remarkable example of a true leader willing to tackle the challenges that obstruct progress and positive change. It shows a high level of emotional intelligence and a willingness to instill a true leadership instead of playing ‘the boss.’
While the opening words in this email can prove touching, it’s Musk’s promise to take action that bears the power of the email and shows how willing he is to take care of his employees and treat them as equal human beings.
For a leader to inspire his followers, they must practice what they preach and set a right example. This means that they should not only delegate, but also be ready to take things into their own hands, especially when a serious problem is in the way.
What Musk does in this statement is what every manager and leader should do with their employees. Authoritarian attitude may keep your workers in fear of losing their jobs, but the true leader will inspire them to never want to leave their job.
Unfortunately, only a select number of managers have the basic empathetic and moral mindset to achieve what leaders are supposed to achieve.
So, ask yourself today:
-Is there a challenge or pain point my team is facing?
-What can I do to help my team overcome this?
If you know how to answer these two questions and follow through, the job title matters very little. Your colleagues will be eager to follow.