To build strong and successful teams, it is vitally important to have a workplace environment that encourages psychological safety. Successful teams thrive in an environment where employees feel safe to make counter-arguments, express creativity, and make mistakes without repercussions. Overall, psychological safety stems from the belief that it is OK and even encouraged to speak up.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, most of us know, it’s not easy. It’s not enough to just “talk the talk.” Actions speak loudly and there are some key behaviors that need to be practiced on a regular basis at all levels of an organization to encourage psychological safety. To cultivate safety, leaders in any organization need to provide an environment that ensures trust, transparency, and is threat-free.
In this article, I’ll break down each of these “T’s” and discuss how a Team Health Check can assist you in building a psychologically safe environment on your team.
Does your leadership stay true to its mission and vision? Does your organization provide support to its teams? And, does leadership follow through on things they say they are going to do? These are all questions that relate to the level of trust that exists in your organization or within individual teams. It’s not easy to build trust within a team structure. One way to get started is to ask for and be open to feedback on a consistent basis.
Does your organization communicate openly? Do employees understand what is expected of them? Transparency is only possible if there is already a foundation of trust. To be transparent means that you can be honest, give and receive constructive feedback, and also give team members a clear vision of how the organization is moving forward.
In order for any team to have trust and transparency, they must not feel threatened by repercussions if they speak up. Giving and receiving feedback in a non-judgmental way is priority one for building psychological safety in an organization.
Agile Team Health Check
A Team Health Check is a tool that can help teams measure their level of psychological safety and overall happiness. A Team Health Check takes the temperature of a team by asking the team members to provide feedback on key health metrics centered around culture, value and performance. If you’re just getting started building trust, ask for the feedback anonymously to ensure honesty. Then, follow-up with an open team discussion about the feedback results and work together to develop an action plan for moving forward. If you are in a Scrum or Agile environment, the Sprint Retrospective is a good time to facilitate a Team Health Check.
If you want to learn more about different Team Health Check models and how to facilitate a Team Health Check, join us for one of our free webinars or training classes. For more information or to register, click one of the events listed below: