Jit Team
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Jit Team

Psychological safety makes people go above and beyond

”People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.” -Dale Carnegie.

In 2020 Gartner's study conducted among 7,502 employees reported that professional well-being has the greatest impact on psychological safety (financial well-being taking second place).

While back in 2017 their Culture Workforce Survey proved that employees working in an environment they consider to be psychologically safe, put in 24% more discretionary effort. Discretionary effort describes an effort the employee is willing to make, that goes beyond their duties or the bare minimum that’s required of them.

A work environment that empowers high ownership, building a place where employees perceive risk (pitching own ideas, confronting views, tackling the status quo, etc.) as a good thing and where team members won’t be perceived as incompetent in case of a failure, can significantly boost overall efficiency and work satisfaction.

Psychological safety is being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career

If you’re not moving forward…

Stagnation can silently drain the team spirit. Teams flourish when they are free to speak up, challenge obstacles and fail fast. Growth means failing fast and failing better for each team as long as the momentum is kept and team members improve by learning from their mistakes.

Lightning in a bottle:

Psychological safety is one of the very basic human needs, both in personal and professional life. It is a crucial requirement for continuous growth, it shields from the risk of burnout and helps relieve the anxiety. It is what all high-performing teams have in common nevertheless unlocking your team’s full potential and managing it consistently is elusive. Keeping the performance high is a multi-layer issue. It requires certain conditions to be met but even then, there will always be a set of circumstances that will stay out of your control, such as the emotional or health well-being of your teammates being a partial result of their private life.

Let’s break down the few factors which help to evaluate the levels of psychological safety at your organization and how to improve it where it is in your reach.

Personal and professional goals align:

Establishing a high ownership mindset requires an understanding of individuals’ capacities, drives, and motivations. Not everyone aspires to be a high performer, some people are there just for the paycheck, and some will resign if they are not challenged enough.

Forget about “one size fits all” solutions and take time to get to know your players and build up from the core. Start with identifying the main purpose for each member of your team. Make sure everyone feels fulfilled and that they are following a path they want to be on. Holding regular career path conversations is another must-have. The right person in the right position will be happier and better motivated. Know their expectations and let them know what is expected of them to shape their work environment accordingly.

Setting adequate goals and key performance indicators for the team will lead to an increased focus and help you to go a long way as a leader. Work to your players’ strengths and handle their weaknesses with improvement in mind.

Author: https://madebyjimbob.com/

Tolerance for slips:

Making mistakes is an important and unavoidable part of a learning curve — the way you cope with errors as a leader is what makes the difference. When something goes sideways, employees need to be certain that there is a certain level of acceptance and that their mistakes will not be used against them.

Good managers embrace mistakes as a chance to learn and openly communicate their slips. Proper narration builds a sense of safety among a team. Improvement-driven communication will help every leader make sure their team is delivering on time. The last thing you want as a manager is your employees anxiously covering up their mistakes.

Speaking up is encouraged

Pitching original ideas always means taking some sort of interpersonal risk. Have in mind that some people do not feel comfortable speaking up at all and even find it stressful. Reinforcing proactiveness might turn out crucial both for building a psychologically safe work environment and for the personal growth of individuals having difficulties voicing their ideas or concerns. Empowering these risks leads to increasing participation, ownership, and relief of stress for some employees.

Thirst for knowledge:

​​Professionals working in competitive industries, often are growth-driven and have deep-rooted habits of seeking information allowing them to not be stagnant skills-wise. Although self-driven, their levels of experience (and communication skills) will vary when they get merged into a single team.

Creating a culture of mutual learning can be a deterministic factor in constructing high-performance teams. A good support network and working alongside people who actively encourage each other to grow is a great asset to a company. Invest in your team’s education, and provide resources and mentorship.

Space is created for reflection and review

Retrospectives are a must. Learning from past performances does not always come naturally- going over the process and confronting insights help with future improvements. Regular retrospectives allow teammates to discuss what went well and what could be improved. It’s a chance to brainstorm better solutions and fulfill what the team longs for, what it lacked and learned in the process.

There is a diversity of thought

Increasingly more organizations pay extra effort into diversity, and inclusion among their teams. Although sometimes it is purely a PR move or a decision dictated by socio-political pressures and can cause a backlash, companies usually benefit from cognitive diversity. Variety of seniority, gender, or age across the team can lead to a productive clash of thoughts and finding the most optimal solutions more effectively. On the other hand, with the differences, grows the risk of conflicts, miscommunication, etc, at least at the initial stage of building a team.

Not surprised?

Building a work culture that truly cares about psychological safety won’t be easy, and there are no shortcuts. The formula has proven to be very efficient across different industries as it comes down to fulfilling the needs that most people share.

There are certain compromises and agreements that need to be made, values signed into companies' cornerstones, mindful managers, and a significant time that needs to be spent on the upkeep once you get there. It’s important to identify the individual capacities and motivations of your teammates to find the right route for their development, provide constructive feedback, and encourage behaviors you want to see growing.

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Michał P.

Michał P.

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