Stage 3: Contributor Safety
Am I Making a Difference?
What is Contributor Safety?
Contributor safety satisfies the basic human need to contribute and make a difference. The more we contribute, the more confidence and competence we develop. When we create contributor safety for others, we empower them with autonomy, guidance, and encouragement in exchange for effort and results.
WHEN YOU HAVE IT
When Contributor Safety is present, we feel safe to contribute as a full member of the team, using our skills and abilities to participate in the value-creation process. We lean into what we’re doing with energy and enthusiasm. We have a natural desire to apply what we’ve learned to make a meaningful contribution.
WHEN YOU DON'T
Without Contributor Safety your desire to add value and contribute in a meaningful way diminishes. You become a glorified order taker, doing the tasks that need to be done without passion or energy. Why do we dislike micromanagers? Because they don’t give us the freedom and discretion to reach our potential.
Contributor Safety at a Glance
Definition of Respect
Definition of Permission
Respect for the individual's ability to create value.
Permission for the individual to work with independence and their own judgement.
Guided autonomy in exchange for results.
Humans Need to Make a Difference.
Contributor Safety is about being given a chance to make a difference. Most humans have a deep desire to make a difference. They want to find meaning and purpose because in their work and they want to carry their weight, they want to help. They want to perform. They want to do their part and they don't feel good about themselves if they can't. If you want to contribute, but you're not given the opportunity, it's like being a member of an athletic team, but never being able to play in the game. It's no fun at all.
Giving Autonomy with Guidance in Exchange for Results.
Contributor Safety is the realm of performance and it’s different from Inclusion Safety. It's not a human right. It's not something people owe you. It's not an entitlement. You have to prove your ability to deliver results. You have to earn it. When you are competent and willing to hold yourself accountable, you’re ready to receive Contributor Safety.
The autonomy-for-results exchange that defines Contributor Safety is an exchange that increases in scale and scope as the individual learns to contribute more.
Contributor Safety Invites Discretionary Effort.
We all have discretionary effort which is the portion of effort we choose to give beyond simple compliance. It’s a matter of personal discretion to contribute or to slack off. When an organization gives employees the autonomy and guidance to produce results they unlock the discretionary effort of their employees. Instead of focusing on the completion of tasks, the team can focus on producing results.
One of the most powerful things you can do to foster Contributor Safety is to help others think beyond their roles. The invitation to think beyond one’s role expresses greater respect for the individual and grants greater permission to contribute. Before people can get out of their tactical and functional silos to think strategically, they must be liberated by the Contributor Safety given to them.
A Toxic Environment Shuts Down Performance.
A toxic environment shuts down performance because people worry about psychological safety before they worry about performance. Fear-stricken teams give you their hands, some of their head, and none of their heart. It’s the leader's job to foster, promote, and model Contributor Safety.
Do You Practice Contributor Safety?
It’s time to take a step back and look at your own life. Ask yourself these questions and evaluate how you are doing to create Contributor Safety around you.
Do you collaborate effectively with other members of your team?
Do you respect only the high achievers and highly educated or do you recognize that answers and insights can come from some of the most unlikely people?
Can you be genuinely happy for the success of others?
Do you empower others without micromanaging them?
Have you ever withheld Contributor Safety from someone when they have earned it?
Do you freely share your experience, knowledge and skills?
Are you emotionally advanced beyond needing to hear yourself talk?
Do you see the potential of others on your team?