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Tag: Psychological Safety

The Importance of Creating Psychological Safety

December 7, 2020
oceanside-stacked-rocks
We've all probably experienced some truly amazing teams and some dreadful ones. What sets them apart? It isn't pure happenstance or a roll of the dice. The foundation of healthy teams and cultures is a concept called Psychological Safety. While this concept has been picking up buzzword steam, it has been around since 1999. In her paper, Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams Amy Edmondson defined team psychological safety as "a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking". Why is this so important and how can teams work to create it? Within any given team, it is necessary to engage in learning behaviors. Learning behaviors are a means for the team to collect and process data…
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Serendipitous Collaboration in Unlikely Places

December 30, 2020
lego-minifigs-looking-away
A little over a month ago I joined a shameless self-promotion channel in a Slack group to get notifications of colleague's blog posts and occasionally share my own. I expected it to serve as a means of constraining the firehose of information to alert me about new things I cared about. It has achieved that goal, but has morphed into something well beyond that. This group has become a safe place for people to share ideas and be vulnerable about unfinished concepts. We continue to grow and learn together, spring boarding ideas off of each other and providing alternative perspectives. It's also a place where people have great conversations about each other's ideas, celebrate and support each other's work, and regularly provide follow on posts…
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High Notification Rates and Psychological Safety: Decreasing the Learning Curve

December 22, 2020
vintage-telephones
Last week my colleague, Mike Crittenden, wrote a post on how good teams are noisy. In it he discusses the concept of successful teams having high notification rates and tangible benefits he has observed. Interestingly enough, last week also brought a tangible example of how high notification rates and psychological safety can help reduce the learning curve. What are Notifications? On July 10, 1989 United Airlines flight 232 experienced a catastrophic engine failure at altitude disabling the pilots' ability to control the plane. In conjunction with a pilot trainer who was seated in first class, the two pilots were able to conduct an emergency crash landing with 185 survivors. Conversely, in each of the National Transportation Safety Board 2…
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What Mistakes did you Make This Sprint?

December 11, 2020
together-painting
It's time for the Sprint Retrospective and people are submitting their thoughts on what went well and what to improve. As the team submits their ideas, the what to improve column remains minimal if populated at all. Are things going so well that there is nothing to improve? This seems statistically unlikely; how can we seek a more balanced retrospective? Before we can do anything we should first examine if the group has a shared sense of psychological safety. This is the foundation for healthy discussions within the group. Without it, the group is unlikely to engage in sharing obstacles to overcome for fear of retribution or appearing incompetent. A tell-tale sign that the group lacks psychological safety is if people are afraid to say they…
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You Can't Have Empathy without Active Listening

December 15, 2020
watch-listen-reflect-bench
Dr Carl Marci explored how people connect in active listening relationships. His research indicated empathically displaying understanding in relationships is key to creating connections and increasing the perceived closeness between individuals. Marci says, "It’s very hard to be empathic when you’re talking. Talking is really complicated, because you’re thinking and planning what you’re going to say, and you tend to get stuck in your own head. But not when you’re listening. When you’re really listening, you lose time. There’s no sense of yourself, because it’s not about you. It’s all about this task—to connect completely to that person." It's easy to get sucked into the cycle of making our thoughts known. Many meetings expose this pattern…
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