Resilient Teams & Psychological Safety
Resilient Teams and Psychological Safety Speaker
For over thirty years, I’ve coached business leaders and their teams on how to create an environment where managers can be authentic and open, and where individuals feel comfortable being themselves. This is the key to helping people recognise and develop not only their own strengths but also those of their colleagues; fostering a culture of open communication, collaboration and diversity of input.
Today, this essential quality of successful teams has a name; psychological safety, which gives due recognition to the importance of a culture where individual team members can speak up, ask questions, give honest feedback, and suggest ideas. Most important of all, individuals understand that, in finding their voice, they needn’t fear being embarrassed, humiliated, sidelined or punished, even if they make mistakes.
Despite the many well documented performance advantages enjoyed by teams exhibiting high levels of psychological safety, many business leaders misunderstand its purpose and reality. Firstly, they assume that fostering psychological safety is an end in its own right, rather than a stepping stone to achieving excellence through enhanced learning, resilience, retention, motivation and delivery. Secondly, many leaders equate the word ‘safety’ with the creation of a comfortable workplace environment which may lead to complacency. In fact, the very opposite is true; whilst enhanced psychological safety will make people feel included, valued, and respected, it will also foster a culture of vigorous and open debate on issues which may not previously have been confronted. My experience of working with managers and businesses undergoing this transition is that, once necessary levels of trust are developed, the catharsis of confronting long established issues will motivate people to become empowered and take ownership. In fact, you will not know what talents lie dormant in your teams until you take this step.
I work on the premise that if you want to grow your business, the best place to start is by making your people feel taller. Today’s key business challenges can be summarised as recruiting the best talent, retaining the best people and building resilience into your teams and the processes they manage. If these are your most pressing priorities, it’s probably best to view psychological safety as the most valuable tool available to you in pursuit of business excellence.
From my own practice working with organisations to explore innovative ways of delivering outstanding customer experiences, I’ve found that companies who give people a voice and make them feel valued are the ones progressing fastest. I am always fascinated to explore whether this has been their established culture, or whether some development or event prompted a reinvention of their business around the principles of openness, authenticity and empowerment. In many cases, it has taken a near failure to prompt the necessary courage and vision to reinvent the business and accelerate progress to the next level.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Bold leaders are prepared to pre-empt change, even if it means disrupting current working practices. What I know for certain, is that when leaders create a transparent culture that positively encourages authenticity, a sense of belonging and the opportunity to contribute without fear of negative personal consequences, they never look back. The only question they ask is; “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”
Contact me to discuss having a Resilient Teams and Psychological Safety Presentation at your in-person or virtual meeting.