Mar 25, 2022
This week, Dan Neumann is diving
deep into the topic of psychological safety, inspired by a couple
of articles that got his special attention (references below). Dan
is sharing in today’s episode the definition of psychological
safety, its link to diversity in Teams and innovation, as well as
some specific ways to foster psychological safety as the number one
prerequisite for a successful Team.
- What is psychological safety?
- Psychological safety is a shared belief that
the members of a team won’t be rejected or embarrassed for speaking
up with their ideas, questions, or concerns.
- Bresman and Edmondson present research that
supports that diversity on a team is linked to a better
- This research explores the bond between
diversity and psychological safety, implying that more diverse
teams are going to have better ideas and outcomes than teams that
are less diverse.
- From the research, they found that diverse
teams tend to be a little lower on performance than more
- They also differentiated from highly diverse
teams that had high psychological safety and those that did not
have it. This first group outperformed by a meaningful degree both
the diverse teams that didn’t have psychological safety and also
low diversity to homogeneous teams.
- Meeting with the purpose of finding root causes
can feel a lot like blame, and blame is one of the behaviors that
destroy psychological safety. Transform meetings into opportunities
to share information.
- Seek information! Don’t assume you know. Choose
open versus closed-ended questions.
- In his article, Timothy Clark uses the term
dialogic process to explore how Teams harness intellectual friction
and navigate their interdepending work.
- If there is a lack of psychological safety,
individuals are going to censor each other or result in
self-censoring behavior which prevents a highly collaborative
atmosphere in a Team.
- High psychological safety promotes innovation
as a goal while a lack of it produces fear as a response and
survival as the goal.
- Clark frames Agile as a culture implementation,
bringing the Agile values into practice.
- Small and seemingly insignificant acts of
disrespect, indifference, and rudeness can push a Team back into
withdrawal and personal risk management.
- Clark also shares four steps to work in a Scrum
Team to continue to foster psychological safety.
- Ways to promote psychological safety at
- Google has identified five dynamics in
successful Teams and the number one prerequisite is psychological
safety. The second is dependability, in third place are structure
and clarity, fourth is the meaning of the work, and lastly, the
members of the Team have to fundamentally believe that the work
they do matters.
Mentioned in this Episode:
“Exploring Psychological Safety and
Danger with Ola Tunde”
“Agile Doesn’t Work Without
Psychological Safety,” by Timothy R. Clark
“Research: To Excel, Diverse Teams
Need Psychological Safety,” Henrik Bresman and Amy C. Edmondson
“The five keys to a successful
Google team,” by Julia
“8 ways to create psychological
safety in the workplace,” by Greg Barnett, Ph.D.
Switch: How to Change Things
When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath
Crucial Conversations: Tools
for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, and
Multiple Explanation: A
Consider-an-Alternative Strategy for Debiasing
R. Hirt and Keith D. Markman
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