In 2012, Google held over 200 interviews with their employees to find out what the most important elements of an effective team are.
The most crucial factor that underpinned all of the findings was the importance of having psychological safety. But what is psychological safety? And why should it matter to you?
We explore this further, including how you can get started measuring this within your team and organisation today!
What is psychological safety?
In short, it is the ability for individuals within a team to feel like they can speak openly without fear of any negative repercussions.
For most of us, this is a minimum expectation of the workplace; however, it is not always guaranteed and without awareness of it as a leader or manager, psychological safety can be easily undermined or eroded.
Why is psychological safety important?
What are the consequences of not having psychological safety?
When psychological safety isn’t present, teams suffer the following consequences:
- Skills development is halted or regresses due to the impact on self-confidence
- The team will be slower to identify and resolve errors and mistakes
- Work produced will rarely leverage the best ideas and suggestions
What are the benefits of psychological safety?
When a team does have psychological safety, it brings the following benefits:
- Builds trust and engagement within the team
- Course correction happens more quickly
- Team is motivated to strive for the best results
How safe do your team feel to speak up?
Now that you know more about what psychological safety is and why it’s so vital for success, how do you test if your team measure up?
Amy Edmondson developed a simple survey in her study of ‘Psychological Safety and Learning Behaviour in Work Teams‘. To help you test your team we have made them available in two formats for you to use with your team:
- In a FREE PDF resource that you can download and print out or email around to your team
- An online survey that makes it easy to collect results from your team – simply share the link and once they fill in the form, they can submit their results anonymously to you for analysis
Everyone can perceive things differently, and key events can change things, so we recommend using this form to check-in with the team every 3-6 months.