Amy Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership at Harvard School of Business and she studies teams. (Watch her 13-minute TED Talk How to turn a group of strangers into a team). In her work she discovered this notion of being safe at work. Not physically safe; for most of us working in corporate, we don’t encounter much physical danger beyond the occasional paper cut.
She was talking about psychological safety, a term she coined. She says this is a shared belief held by members of a team that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish you for speaking up.
In my work, so many clients aren’t feeling this. Which begs the obvious question, how can you be yourself and do your best work if you don’t feel safe? You can’t, of course.
But this often isn’t an easy fix. It may require a courageous conversation with someone on the team to find a way to work better together. It may require a courageous conversation with the team to discuss how the team can create more safety.
And it may require a courageous conversation with yourself: are you really not safe or might that be an excuse you use to keep staying in your comfort zone?
I’ve done all three and I can tell you, sometimes the problem is real and needs candor, and sometimes the problem is me and my distorted view of the world.
Try this ONE thing
If you’re not feeling psychologically safe at work, what is ONE thing you can do to make the situation better: talk to someone or talk to yourself?
And if you find you need to talk to someone before you have this conversation, book a FREE 15-minute call with me here.