Psychological Safety

Research by Google and others confirmed that the best performing team didn’t deliver because of talent, resources, or money. Out of 250 factors that were examined, the common denominator for outstanding teams was psychological safety. Those that lacked it, didn’t do so well.

Top 5 Factors for Outstanding Teams

Research has shown that some teams outperform others due to five factors (in random order):

  • Psychological Safety
  • Dependability
  • Structure and Clarity
  • Meaning of Work
  • Impact of Work
We spend so much time trying to prove our technical skill and specialist knowledge in solving problems. But what might be most needed for teams and individuals to thrive in 21st-century complexity is completely different.

Psychological Safety

You’ve probably come across an environment with a lack of psychological safety i.e. an environment where competitiveness dominates  – people play a zero-sum game, hog credit, talk over one another, devalue each other to improve their own standing, claim superior knowledge through snide criticism, etc. – there’s a constant sense of threat and manipulative politicking.

If you’re fortunate, you may have experienced an environment built on psychological safety i.e. one where individuals can take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.

Dr Amina Aitsi-Selmi explains how Psychological Safety contributes to an environment is which employees dare to take risks and go long:

What we might really need is to outgrow industrial work cultures and embrace kinder, more humane principles of relating that make us feel valued and unlock creativity – a radical transformation of our social matrix.