The Internet is a big place and getting bigger all the time. Sometimes the information you want, the information you need, is right at your fingertips, but you can’t find it. Until. One link leads to another that leads to another and then you find yourself at a Google site that has a Guide: Understanding Team Effectiveness.
And you’ll never believe the most important dynamic for effective.
You guessed it: psychological safety.
Organizational behavioral scientist Amy Edmondson of Harvard first introduced the construct of “team psychological safety” and defined it as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”
I talked about this in “Safe Enough to Try” and a dozen other posts on risk and risk aversion but I think it needs to be repeated: risk taking needs to be safe. In an article on the re:Work website entitled “Why psychological safety matters and what to do about it” the authors give an example as to why this safety net is important.
More importantly, the concept of the team is becoming more important:
Yet many of today’s most valuable firms have come to realize that analyzing and improving individual workers — a practice known as ‘‘employee performance optimization’’ — isn’t enough. As commerce becomes increasingly global and complex, the bulk of modern work is more and more team-based.
This New York Times article “What Google learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team“ talks about the team dynamic and how it is as important, if not more important than any specific individual. Google has spent years doing the research. Years. And all of this was synthesized and boiled down to their guide on re:Works.
Psychological safety, knowing that the blame game is not in play, that sort of safety allows a team to be effective. Significantly more effective if the research is to be believed.
So, psychological safety is important and yet many organizations are rife with structures and cultures that blame others instead of using it as a learning experience. In the words of Winston Churchill: