A few years ago, Google studied to determine the keys to successful teams. Through their research, they found that the #1 key to the highest-performing teams was psychological safety within the team. This means that team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other, without feeling insecure or embarrassed.
High psychological safety across the team provides a number of key benefits such as:
- It encourages members to speak up with ideas, professional dissent, and necessary questions.
- It enables a culture of feedback and accountability within the team – up, down, and across.
- Fosters higher levels of innovation, especially from more junior members.
But leaders can’t just create this safety out of thin air, nor can they demand it from their team. We can’t merely tell our teammates, “I want you to feel safe here” if our actions communicate otherwise.
Leaders must build a sense of psychological safety for their team. This is done through deliberate, consistent behavior over time. Here are a few ways that we can start practicing it more now: by using inclusive language, making vulnerability OK for them and for us, trusting first, and enacting our leader love languages. Continue reading → Do Your People Feel Safe? How Leaders Create Psychological Safety.