To assess your personal impact on the psychological safety of your team, ask yourself the following seven questions:
1. Presence: Your presence has an impact on the tone and tenor of a meeting. When you enter a room, does your influence warm or chill the air?
2. Collaboration: When you collaborate with your peers, does your influence accelerate or decelerate the speed of discovery and innovation?
3. Feedback: Fear breaks the feedback loop. If there’s pervasive fear, people filter or withhold feedback. Does your influence increase or restrict the flow of feedback?
4. Inquiry: Telling has a tendency to shut people down, while asking has tendency to draw people out. Does your influence draw people out or shut them down?
5. Dissent: Dissent is critical to making good decisions by thinking carefully about different potential courses of action. Do you encourage and reward dissent or discourage and punish dissent?
6. Mistakes: Mistakes are clinical material for learning and progress. Do you celebrate mistakes and the lessons learned or overreact and marginalize those who make them?
7. Unvarnished Truth: No one likes to hear the unvarnished truth when it's unflattering. And yet we need to hear it or suffer the consequences of willful blindness. Can people tell you what you don’t want to hear when you don’t want to hear it?
To create incubators of innovation where divergent thinking, creative abrasion and constructive dissent thrive, we must learn not only to tolerate, but actually invite and welcome constructive feedback. This may feel like an unnatural act at first, but it’s a skill you can develop. Here’s how:
Challenger safety satisfies the basic human need to make things better. It’s the support and confidence we need to ask questions such as, “Why do we do it this way?” “What if we tried this?” or “May I suggest a better way?”
There’s some truth to the adage: out of sight, out of mind. If you’re a remote worker you may be wondering if this applies to you. Does the adage hold weight on our virtual teams? Are we left to the mercy of cloud-based collaboration tools to remind our employers of our existence? If we’re only “in sight” when we’re on-screen, can we still have an impact on our organizations?