5 Strategies for building psychological safety in your team
Do you feel like your team is struggling and can’t put your finger on it? You may be suffering from a lack of psychological safety, which is not surprising given 2020.
Managers have a lot to do, there is no doubt. I feel like front-line managers are the most overworked and under-developed group, and yet we ask so much of them. Are you putting on a brave face every day whilst feeling overwhelmed and under-supported?
If the answer is yes, now is the time to start thinking about how you can make 2021 a better year for you and your team. Don’t wait for your business to direct you, get clear on how you can increase psychological safety in your team as the basis for high performance.
What is psychological safety and why should it be so important to you and your business?
Psychological safety is generally a shared belief that you can bring your whole self to work and that your team members feel safe to provide feedback and input without repercussions.
This is important because we want people to be themselves and feel safe about speaking up and challenging the status quo. Think about this in the context of solving problems, being creative or innovating and importantly learning. If people in your business don’t do this, you might be staring down the barrel of some failure. This can definitely be avoided.
These 5 steps will help you build trust and psychological safety in your team.
- Start with some self-reflection and use these questions as a starting point:
- Are you feeling overwhelmed?
- Do you feel like you have balance in your life?
- Do you feel like your habits are supporting you?
- Do you like going to work?
- Do you feel fulfilled in the work you are doing?
- Are you experiencing positive emotions?
2. Then do a little reflection about your team environment:
- Do you feel like you have mutual trust and respect in the team? If the answer is a little wobbly or not a firm yes, you’ll need to really understand this first. Some questions to ask:
- Do we share feedback openly?
- Do I do all the talking in meetings?
- Do I know each individual in my team, their family, their interests, what they want from their job, the company and their career?
3. Operating rhythms and habits are the lifeblood of individual and team effectiveness. Reflect on whether your current habits work for you and this is a great opportunity to get your team involved in the design process for 2021. If you don’t feel you can do this yourself, get someone from outside your team to facilitate this session. This way you can actively participate and listen to what is and isn’t being said. Remember, make this session fun and safe.
4. Understand your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yours and your team’s strengths will be paramount to having an energised team at work. When you are clear on your strengths and work from these, you will find you have more energy.
5. Take the time to celebrate wins and reflect on things that didn’t go so well. It’s important to be able to actively review work quality. Create the structure with your team to do this and slip this process into your operating rhythm.
These are very simple but powerful steps – they are just the beginning. I think it’s important to remember, don’t be so hard on yourself.