I received an email Sunday afternoon that a colleague had passed away from a massive heart attack while on the golf course. It was very sad to hear, and my heart goes out to the family and friends. Later that day, it reminded me of the most basic of all leadership responsibilities – safety. This is the first of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Can you even imagine being the manager that has to call the spouse of one of your employees to tell them their partner was seriously injured or even killed in an accident while at work? In some ways, I was lucky to learn the importance of safety early when I was seriously injured while training to be a welder at a technical school. A couple hundred stitches and a few months later, I was back on the basketball court. But that did not prepare me in any way for the day I had to call the spouse of an employee who had a life ending medical emergency while on the job. I did not know at the time that it was a brain aneurysm and believed it to be work-related.
Leaders must do absolutely everything within their power to ensure a safe workplace. You never want to make the call I did. This lesson is short and direct.