Psychological safety allows an individual at the workplace to be oneself and express themselves without the fear of negative consequences to status, self-image or career. This allows unique skills and talents of each employee to shine through and contribute to an innovative and continuous learning environment. High performing teams consist of individuals who are not only high performing as individuals but also have skills and competencies that complement one another and have high levels of cohesion. This enables them to tackle the most complex projects and ensure high quality, innovative outcomes that contribute to the growth of the organization. The interpersonal factors in high performing teams need to be near ideal levels in order to empower them to perform to their maximum potential.
Enable psychological safety at workplace
According to a study conducted by Google called Project Aristotle, psychological safety was the dynamic that was found to have the greatest impact on teamwork. This is in line with studies that show the effect that psychological safety has on interpersonal relations within a team. High performing teams are associated with innovation and thinking out of the box and this come with risk taking. Psychological safety builds an environment that promotes calculated risk taking where any failures are treated as learning opportunities than as loss in time or resources.
High performing teams often have brain storming sessions where individuals express unique ideas and have detailed discussions that build on each other ideas. A psychologically safe environment enables active listening where people are encouraged to share details of their ideas and introverted members are empowered to speak up more. It also teaches members of that environment to constantly work on having an open mindset that allows them to listen to ideas without judging the other, even ideas that may have seemed bizarre to a subjective ear.
High potential teams having members that continually practice having an open mindset learn how to effectively share feedback, how to receive feedback and view it as one of the methods that aids growth and progress, not as negative criticism or transfer of blame.
High performing teams have a group of individuals who have high potential, have great ideas and strong opinions. As discussed above, practicing an open mindset will allow strong opinions to be expressed in palatable ways but there will be instances where this practice slips. In such situations, the leader must step up to make the members aware of the slip and help the team get back on track by enabling the members to treat the point of conflict as an objective problem and lead a discussion that results in a new learning or an effective solution.
The practices involved in setting up and maintaining a psychologically safe environment are the dynamics that are a requirement for the optimum functioning of high performing teams since they have higher potential, creativity and innovation than average individuals that lead to higher possibilities of discord within the team. It is both a requirement and a booster for high performing teams.