Tesla is known to be one of largest manufacturers of innovative technologies. For years, they have been creating and providing products that change the world. No doubt, they have the best team when it comes to innovation. However, it’s also true that when creating cutting-edge inventions, accidents can happen. Tesla, one of the world’s tech giants, experiences tragedies, too.
Over the past years, Tesla has been struggling with safety. The public knew about it when the non-profit worker safety advocacy group, Worksafe, reported that Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California, has a 30 percent higher injury rate than the industry average in 2014 and 2015. However, Musk said that safety is the ultimate priority at Tesla. In fact, they are performing actions to decrease the rate and probability of injuries among their workers. Musk claimed that a few of their steps involved hiring thousands of employees in the purpose of creating a third shift, thus, avoiding excessive overtime. The tesla’s CEO also said that their actions resulted in a substantial decrease in injury rate.
Musk even sent an email to all of Tesla’s employees, implying his empathy towards the issue. As reported by the news site Electrek, a part of Musk’s email said:
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.
Sincerity is felt in Musk’s words. If he can prove that this email is true by fulfilling his promises, Musk truly is an exceptional example of a good leader.
Learning from an Exemplary Leader
It’s essential for every leader to be emotionally intelligent. Defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in people management. As an effective leader, this trait is an essential quality.
Musk had laid out his words beautifully in his email. He had precisely expressed his points, and touched many people who read his message. What’s more impressive is his willingness to take bold risks when he made a promise to his employees. Musk is clearly ready to do whatever it takes to personally meet the emotional needs of every injured worker. He even initiated to actually perform what the employees do to learn how to their tasks. Such quality can never be seen in every CEO, not all leaders are willing to face real-life dangers just to know the exact solution for a problem.
Leaders must lead, and as an effective leader, they must set an example. The best leaders practice what they preach, and are not afraid to delegate tasks. They know how and when to handle the situations in their own hands. Most importantly, effective leaders can identify serious problems and are ready to be deeply involved in finding the solutions.
What Musk offered is the best example of what a leader must do. Great managers work alongside their staff to get the same perspective, and come up with correct steps based on that view. Knowing how to put one’s self in else’s shoes is a necessary ability for leaders to build rapport, empathy, and boost worker’s motivation.
If you’re an aspiring leader, or a leader yourself, your people must know that you’ve got their backs. Unfortunately, not all managers are willing to make a similar effort. Thus, many teams fail.
Answering these questions can help you improve as a leader:
- Where does my team experience difficulties?
- What can I do to help them improve?
- What can I do to make things better?
After questioning yourself these questions, and after being able to provide answers, the moment you implement your solutions, you can then prove to yourself and your team that you are a good leader – and people will then follow.