Stage Three: Contributor Safety


October 10, 2022



About This Episode

This series is based on Timothy R. Clark’s book The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation.

You can purchase your copy here: The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

Or download a free excerpt here: The 4 Stages Book Excerpt

Tim and Junior define contributor safety (01:00). Contributor safety satisfies our fundamental human need to create value. It's the perfect blend of autonomy and accountability, freedom and guidance.

The social exchange of contributor safety (5:00). When we create contributor safety for others, we empower them with autonomy, guidance, and encouragement in exchange for effort and results.

Why do we hate being micromanaged? (9:15). Tim and Junior explain why micromanagement gets on almost everybody's nerves and why we crave autonomy and freedom.

A leaders contribution vs. an individual's contribution (14:35). Leaders have to be willing to let go of the reins of execution and find fulfillment and value in innovation. 

The Micromanager vs. the Absentee Landlord (19:45). Micromanagers don't know when to stop offering guidance and trust their employees to do their job. Absentee Landlords aren't willing to offer guidance and direction while expecting perfect outcomes.

Contributor safety introspection questions (23:40). Junior asks a series of questions and asks listeners to crack themselves open and figure out where they fall short in the world of contributor safety.

Discovery and advocacy (27:25). But when you’re willing to ask more than you tell, you transfer those core critical thinking skills to your team instead of keeping them all for yourself. Letting go of the reins means that you transfer not only the execution aspects of the job, but also the fulfilling parts of the work at hand: outcomes, success, discovery, and deliverables can be transferred too.

Tolkien's contributions to contributor safety (39:35). Tim shares a quote from famous writer J. R. R. Tolkien.

How coaching affects contributor safety (41:00). Microcoaching and accountability are fundamental skills that any leader has to acquire in order to be successful in dynamic business environments.

The three levels of accountability (44:10). In any team, individuals may work under three different levels of accountability–task, process, and outcome. Those who work at task-level accountability need to be walked through every aspect of the job. Once a team member shows that they can complete tasks sufficiently, they graduate to process-level accountability: tasks can be strung together in a predictable, consistent process and they will still know what to do. The third level of accountability is where good employees can become influential innovators: outcome-level accountability. Here how we get our work done, how we accomplish our tasks, and how we manage projects and processes don’t matter so much. It’s all about the outcome. 

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