Lessons in Psychological Safety

When people feel safe working together, they achieve more. To make that happen, you don’t have to baby anyone – it’s enough to follow a few simple rules.

Lessons in Psychological Safety

A couple of years ago, Google’s Project Aristotle started investigating why some teams work better than others. Its analysis shows that the combination of individuals making up the group is unimportant. Instead, a team’s “group norms” – its “traditions, behavioral standards and unwritten rules” – are essential to how well the group performs.

Teams are successful if their group norms lead to equal speaking time for all individuals within the group and an awareness of others’ emotional states.

These factors produce a situation in which members of the group feel comfortable, or “safe,” and therefore more willing to contribute. Google’s data show that what Harvard business professor Amy Edmondson called “psychological safety” within the group leads to an increase in the group’s collective IQ and therefore its effectiveness and productivity.

Image of: What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
Article Summary

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

How Google used data analysis to optimize group dynamics in the workplace

Charles Duhigg The New York Times Magazine
Read Summary

This is not about simply being nice to each other or making sure everyone can stay in their comfort zones. Instead, you should combine ambitious performance standards with high psychological safety. This way, you can make sure your employees are able to constantly develop.

How Do I Establish Psychological Safety?

1. Beat Fear

It’s not enough to hire talented people. You also need to enable them to use their talents. Unfortunately, an unofficial culture of silence prevails in many companies: Employees not only hold back bad news, but also innovative, groundbreaking ideas. Why? Because they’re afraid. And fear as a “motivator” has never worked in the long run. Here is how to foster courage:

Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: The Fearless Organization
Book Summary

The Fearless Organization

Leadership expert Amy C. Edmondson explores censorship in the workplace and reveals its consequences.

Amy C. Edmondson Wiley Read Summary
Image of: Courage Goes to Work
Book Summary

Courage Goes to Work

If your employees fear change, let Bill Treasurer show you how to build their courage.

Bill Treasurer Berrett-Koehler Publishers Read Summary
Image of: Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces
Book Summary

Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces

Don’t ignore the introverted half of the population: Your company benefits if you build inclusive teams where quiet people thrive.

Jennifer Kahnweiler Berrett-Koehler Publishers Read Summary

2. Build Trust

When people in your company are no longer afraid of critical questions, their supervisor or change, an important step has been taken. But the next is: building trust. If you stop at “fear no more,” you are withholding enormous opportunities for yourself and your colleagues. But how do you build this trust without making false promises or denying yourself? Here are our best books on the subject:

Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: Trust Factor
Book Summary

Trust Factor

Paul J. Zak explains how to build a high-performance business based on soft management and hard science.

Paul J. Zak HarperCollins Leadership Read Summary
Image of: The Catalyst Effect
Book Summary

The Catalyst Effect

To encourage superior performance, “catalytic leaders” develop their command of 12 important competencies.

Jerry Toomer, Craig Caldwell, Steve Weitzenkorn and Chelsea Clark Emerald Publishing Limited Read Summary
Image of: Saving Face
Book Summary

Saving Face

Being aware of “saving face” adds respect to your interactions and honors everyone’s humanity.

Maya Hu-Chan Berrett-Koehler Publishers Read Summary
Image of: Build It
Book Summary

Build It

Three of four workers don’t like their jobs. This leads to disengagement and poor productivity.

Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey Wiley Read Summary
Image of: Building Trust While Cutting Costs
Article Summary

Building Trust While Cutting Costs

For a successful restructuring initiative, lead with strategy and empathy.

Vinay Couto, Deniz Caglar and John Plansky Strategy+business Read Summary

3. Invite to Participate

Now it’s just a matter of making something out of the newly created conditions: Invite people to work on the big picture, to get involved. Take an active role when it comes to the nitty-gritty, ask people to report errors in the system, anonymously if necessary. Encourage them to discuss things and reward them when appropriate.

Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: Employee Engagement
Book Summary

Employee Engagement

You can build a happier, more effective organization with the “happiness advantage” of employee engagement.

Emma Bridger Kogan Page Publishers Read Summary
Image of: Employee Engagement 3.0
Article Summary

Employee Engagement 3.0

Employees today have many channels to voice their feedback. How should managers deal with this treasure trove of information?

Josh Bersin LinkedIn Read Summary
Image of: The Power of Full Engagement
Book Summary

The Power of Full Engagement

Balance your mind, body, emotions and spirit by managing not your time, but your energy. It’s the new paradigm.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz Free Press Read Summary
Image of: Objectives and Key Results
Book Summary

Objectives and Key Results

Dive into the effective implementation and use of objectives and key results (OKRs).

Paul R. Niven and Ben Lamorte Wiley Read Summary
Share this Story