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Psychological Safety

Psychological safety has massive implications on team performance.

· team,to-sort

Recognize the psychological safety of your team:
>High psychologically safe:

  • Mistakes in this team are serious so you are never afraid to tell the manager
  • There is much greater openness on this team - it is intangible
  • I could be myself, I don't have to put on an act of anything, worry about saying the wrong thing because something [bad] may happen if I do

>Low psychologically safe:

  • In this team, people are put down for being different
  • The team leader treats you as guilty if you make a mistake. I was called into her office and made to feel like a two-years old. You get put on trial.
  • A single mistake for which you are blamed can offset many successes and result in your being labeled and limited in future assignments and promotions

Source: Edmondson (1999), Edmondson and Kramer (2004)

Psychological safety

"A shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking"

Source: Edmondson (1991: 350)

Psychological safety has massive implications on team performance.
It reduces fears of public humiliation or embarrassment.

Psychological safe team success to overcome the common information effect and to benefit from unique information.

Drivers of psychological safety

>Team leader behaviors

  • Being accessible and approachable

E.g., Eric is very accessible. He's in his office, always just two seconds away. He can always take five minutes to explain something, and never makes you feel stupid.

  • Explicitly inviting input and feedback

E.g., Vicky gave us a talk about what minimally invasive surgery is about, what results she expected and told us to immediately let her know if anything is out of place.

  • Modeling openness and fallibility

E.g., Steven models this behavior... he will say I 'screwed up'. My judgement was bad in this case.

>Trusting relationships

  • Invest, invest, invest in interpersonal relationships

>Practice fields

  • Trial ("dry") runs, off site and off-line meetings, simulations

>Organizational support

  • Access to resources and information

Source: Edmondson and Kramer (2004), Nembhard and Edmondson (2006)