The definition of psychological safety is "the belief that you won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes". Google did a four-year study to find that the most impactful factor in teams was psychological safety. Amy Edmondson has many interviews discussing the matter and its importance and is a great resource for learning about the topic. One of the most important duties as a team leader is being able to openly ask for and accept feedback from your members. Creating psychological safety within your organization will allow all workers to feel heard and seen which is crucial to employee engagement. Here we have a list of six things you should be asking in order to open the discussion and create psychological safety for all workers in your establishment. Question 1 What’s the thing you see me doing that’s helping me best contribute to the team? As a leader, you not only want to be guiding your team but also consistently contributing to their projects either with well informed feedback or useful ideas. There will be times when you’re better at doing these things and it’s important to know when to take full advantage of what is most useful to your employees. Question 2 What’s the thing I do that’s distracted from our success? As well as being able to take advantage of your strong points you must recognise your weaknesses in order to learn to improve on them. You may be unaware of some habits that aren’t as helpful as you originally thought so it’s important that you give your team the space to make you aware of these things so you can adapt the idea to be better or find something else. Question 3 What’s one thing I need to know about you that will improve our relationship? When working with people for extended periods of time close relationships will form naturally, the worker-leader relationship is an important one since it will help contribute to employee engagement and create better workplace culture. Within the workplace, it can be difficult to get to know someone properly as most conversations will be business focused, but even one question such as this can help skip the small talk and focus on the things that are important in building that connection. Question 4 What’s one thing you need from me that will enable you to be successful? Within a busy workplace, it is all too easy to miss out on the little things that can sometimes be the most useful to some people. Employees will likely shy away from asking for any extra help you could be providing, but if you make the effort to ask the questions then your team will feel far more secure in giving suggestions to what they need from their leader. Even missing out on one minor thing can hold you or the team back from better success so it is well worth your time to be taking these extra steps. Question 5 What’s one gift, skill or talent you have that I’ve overlooked, under-valued or under-utilised? Underestimating performance can be just as damaging as overestimating performance in your team. When underestimating an employee, you may not be giving them the chances they need to learn and improve. They may even notice that you are underestimating them which could damage the confidence they have in themself. Everyone has a unique set of skills that can definitely be utilised in many areas of work, your team members likely want to contribute these skills into the work for both themselves and to better the business. Question 6
What motivates you and how can we bring more of that to your work?
For most people, motivation can be difficult to find daily, it will provide a lot of help to your whole team if you are able to find and provide the things that help to motivate them. Having other people put in the effort to motivate you can be extremely helpful although many would not want to ask for that. Create that open and safe space for talking to ensure your employees will ask for the things they need to perform at their best.
Open the conversation with your team and you will begin to see the positive changes as long as you listen and pay attention to what they are saying. There are many more questions that would be useful to ask your team members, but these beginning six are a great start to creating psychological safety in your workplace.
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