Google’s Project Aristotle was a study into why some teams struggled while others were high performing and collaborative. It found the highest performing teams experienced psychological safety, which is a trust that allows members to feel safe enough, to be honest, and share ideas. They can take risks and say what they think, knowing they won’t be punished for it.
Psychologically safe teams are more productive, collaborative, and creative. No wonder they are high performing.
So, how do you build psychological safety within your team?
First, you need to show you practice and apply some or all of these psychological safety practices.
Learn to understand yourself, your beliefs, emotions, and reactions. Your team’s perception of you and your motives affects how you present yourself: practice presenting your best and authentic self.
Encourage positivity and cut off negative conversations. You want to build a safe environment for people to share information, knowing they won’t suffer for it.
Accept mistakes and failures
Teach your team that mistakes are part of growth and experimentation. They are to be expected, not frowned upon. There will never be growth or creativity in a team that’s afraid to fail. Oh, and admit to your own mistakes. Prove you’re human and just like everyone else in the group.
The team needs to be part of the decision-making process. Seek the team’s input in meetings. When people are part of the process, they are more likely to be committed to the outcome even if they don’t get their way. Ownership is very motivating.
When you ask people questions, you remove their hesitancy. Some people need answers on the spot. Others need to hear the discussions and gather the information to formulate an idea or opinion. Open discussion is a valuable source of information about how your team is operating and thinking. It’s also the best way to encourage the sharing of ideas.
Praise people for taking risks
Whether they get it right or wrong, show your admiration and respect for the people who were willing to try something new. Shift the focus from “mistake and humiliation” to “bravery and respect.”
Whether it’s expressing yourself, explaining why things are happening or giving feedback, be genuine. Even if people don’t like the message, they will respect you for being willing to share it. When your team feels like it has the truth, it will be prepared to work with you and move forward.
As a leader, you are the person who sets the scene for team engagement. By including these seven psychological safety practices within your team, you equip them to achieve the vision you aim for and the goals they set in place. As a result, you’ll see higher levels of motivation and engagement along with increasing creativity and idea generation.
Want better performance from your team?
Make them feel psychologically safe.
Ready to make sure you are a leader who creates a psychologically safe working environment? The Athena Leadership Academy’s leadership programs will help you shape the skills and mindset you need to lead a team in a psychologically safe way. Contact us today to find out more ways to help you and your team of leaders build a psychologically safe workplace to enjoy a culture that is collaborative, productive, and creative.