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Opinion by Cathy Dimarchos - August 2, 2021

The most important indicator of your team’s psychological safety

Do you know what is the single most important indicator of the psychological safety level on your team?

The short answer is whether vulnerabilty is rewarded or punished.

Psychological safety takes time to build but can be destroyed in an instant.

Creating the space to have the conversations that matter requires us to slow down so that we can listen to what is being shared. That way, we can understand before we respond.

Traditional conversations encourage first-order thinking; we react in the moment, say our piece and move on to the next thing. We behave in a way where we believe we have reached the destination as soon as we have provided our contribution, and this keeps everyone at a distance.

It prevents those with opposing views from using their voice.

We need to pause so that conversations start to flow, and differences of opinions are heard and understood.

Having the difficult discussions and hearing feedback is about moving forward in way where everyone feels valued and heard.

Our contributions in these instances are about unlearning how we listen and engaging differently so that we can show others how to do the same. This will also give those around us permission to show up, step up, and have a voice.

But none of this can take place without a conscious effort.

Talking about it is not the same as living the behaviour and practicing it, so that it becomes part of our innate reaction.

Just like everything that is important, it starts with us. And, as a team, we must embrace the same commitment. We show reciprocity so that we too may receive it. We create alignment for a bigger purpose and identify our contribution as part of the process.

If you want to keep balloons floating and filled with air, you need to look at ways to inflate them. The same applies to your people and to those around you. Each person in your team wants to be inflated, so let’s give them the opportunity to be vulnerable and be rewarded for it. Whether they identify an innovation, or make a mistake, let’s reward them.

It is their ability to contribute and risk being vulnerable in the process that we are looking for.

In a world that will continue to change at rapid rates, let’s look at how we can transform people so that they strengthen from their experiences.

Psychological safety is the one fundamental ingredient needed to develop high-performing teams, no matter what business you are in.

Your people need to flourish, as oppose to burn out, so that your business grows.

If you want to see productivity increase, join the early adopters who are already seeing the impact and develop psychological architects in your business.

This is not a race, but a measured approach that changes behaviours and cultures to ensure the ripple effect occurs across your entire business.

This article originally featured on The Adviser