To achieve business outcomes such as customer satisfaction, accountability, quality, and innovation, we all know that how people work together is vital - teamwork, trust, collaboration - and no doubt you can think of others. This is especially true in pressured times as we are now facing.
Yet one factor that commonly stands in the way of collective effort is a lack of psychological safety, a sense of being able to express ourselves without excessive risk.
When you feel unsafe, you’re likely try to minimise threat and anxiety. You’ll communicate at least partly to please others. Yet there’s also part of you struggling to voice what’s true for you. Results can include mixed messages, lack of trust, conflict and fragmentation between groups.
A lack of safety is exacerbated by the hierarchical structures and specialised functions of most organisations. When you’re “in a box”, it can feel hard to speak up to people in other boxes!
One thing we can do to improve psychological safety is to help people recognise common defensive patterns - especially their own - and get better at communicating in ways that are safer, less risky. As we grow in our sense of safety, we’ll likely reduce our reliance on defensive communications and be clearer and more authentic.
These are the capabilities we help people develop. Welcome to Better Work Conversations – and the Practice Field, where the e-learning components of our courses live.