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When training, coaching, and supporting leaders and new managers, the topic of psychological safety in teams always comes up!
After 20 years of having these conversations, I have collated what I believe are the main components in creating psychological safety in teams…

  1. Authentic Leadership

    Be yourself. Sounds simple but so many new managers and leaders get sucked into changing their behaviours to what they think is expected – and of course, this is very much going to reflect depending on who their role models are and what leadership culture is created by those around them.
    Being yourself provides consistency to your team – it stops them having to guess what your reactions are – and you can only really be consistent if you are truly being yourself.

  2. Be curious

    About your team. Who are they as individuals? What are their personal motivations? How do they work as a team? Where do their strengths lie, and do they know them?
    What do they need from you? What do they expect from you? What do they expect from each other? What do they expect from themselves?
    Leading me onto….

  3. Lay the foundations

    Set the parameters. Ways of working, processes, communication, and a shared purpose linked to the business objectives. Bonus points if you have done the work in point 3 to understand personal motivations and how these may link to the business objectives – and then find a way to satisfy both.
    Give your team the building blocks to create the team they want to work within. Support them as they create – listen, work to understand, mentor from your own experiences, help to remove blockers in their way, champion them.
    Remember that you may be the leader, but you are also part of this team.

  4. Create opportunities for your team to fail

    Yes, you read that right! When your team has an idea – create an experiment, a pilot, a trial – anything that enables them to practice…and yes, often fail…and learn…and try again…give them the opportunity to keep learning and using each other’s ideas to make small iterations to create a better solution.
    If you want to boost morale, video the process, get them to make notes on how they came to decisions, write it in a notebook…create a record of it in some way – and then at a later date, come back to it – show your team how far they have come, and also remind them that nothing ever starts as being easy but together they can find the solutions!

  5. Communicate

    Always. Give timely feedback, have honest conversations, be respectful in dissent. Share ideas, communicate any changes as clearly as possible and always with the end user in mind. Never leave any of the team in the dark (the exception is obviously surprise birthday cake!). Your team needs the full story to find solutions, and it’s your job to communicate it with them, no matter how hard or awkward the conversation may feel, communicating honestly and openly will help to build trust. 

If you are a leader or new manager and want some support, there are loads of different ways we can work together…but not just that, I believe that we learn best when we have access to learning from others in similar situations…I bring you…The Wild Clarity Club! Please do pop over and have a look and hopefully I’ll see you on the inside!

The Wild Clarity Club

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