It All Starts With Safety
Author and speaker Simon Sinek is a gifted storyteller. In this talk, Simon zeroes in on an often overlooked aspect of leadership: safety.
Simon recounts the story of an ambush and its powerful lesson. When Army Captain William Swenson and his men were under heavy fire in Afghanistan, it was all caught on camera. As Swenson is seen helping an injured soldier onto a helicopter, you see Swenson lean over and kiss the injured soldier’s forehead before running back into a battle.
Build a Culture That Encourages Selflessness
Why did he do this? Sinek’s first hypothesis was that the military somehow attracted selfless people. After further investigation, Sinek concluded it was the environment that elevated behavior. The culture and values of the organization were strong enough to encourage selflessness.
We will put our lives at risk to save others because of trust. That means that trust increases safety. When we feel safe, we are empowered. When we are not acting under threat, we are able to give our best, to be more creative, to be more productive. More trust = more safety = more productivity and creativity. It’s a formula that all leaders should study.
Trust and safety may be difficult to measure, but they are essential for optimal performance.
Without safety, instead of focusing on outside threats, we are turned inside. When we feel safe, we are able to work together for a common cause and fulfill the leader’s vision.
The question for organizations everywhere is whether your culture is safe. Do your managers encourage an atmosphere of safety and trust? The answer to that question may be the key to unlocking the creativity of the entire company.