Ask any safety professional what drives or motivates them to get out of bed in the morning and you’ll probably get 1,000 different answers. Some people may be motivated by their experience working in the industry, some may be motivated by combat experience, some may be motivated by their desire to help people and some may be motivated by money; the point is, we’re all motivated by something. While it’s great to know what motivates you, it’s even more important to ask yourself, “what impact do I want to make today?”
As someone who spent over a decade working as a paramedic on the streets, I’ve seen and dealt with many catastrophic injuries and illnesses that resulted from unsafe conditions and unsafe behaviors. These were horrible experiences, but these experiences are what made an impact in my life and motivated me to get into safety. The thoughts “what if I could be more proactive rather than reactive?” or “how can I be part of preventing injuries and illnesses rather than responding to them?” ignited the burning passion for safety within me that has only intensified over time. Even still, I find myself asking “what impact do I want to make today?” or more importantly, “how can I make a positive impact today?”
Unlike the things that motivate safety professionals, the impact that we’re looking to make is likely very similar; we want to see everyone go home safely at the end of the day. We want to see you enjoy time with your family, enjoy time with your pets, enjoy playing golf, enjoy hunting and fishing, enjoy mountain climbing or enjoy any other thing that you look forward to in life without worrying about an accident at work taking those things away from you. We’re all looking to make the same impact, but how do we get there? There’s an infinite number of ways, but here are a few ideas to help get you started.
Be a Servant Leader.
A true safety professional is one who not only knows the way and shows the way but also makes the effort to help workers “go the way.” I could write for days on how powerful servant leadership is and how effective it is at empowering others to lead the way; however, the key takeaway here is that safety professionals need to set their agenda aside and look out for the needs of others before taking care of their own. Robert K. Greenleaf once said, “Good leaders must first become good servants.”