Psychological safety is the most important metric that matters in measuring outperforming teams.
It embraces these two aspects in humans’ interactions, whether at home or work; conversational turn-taking and average social sensitivity, which mean equally giving the space for team members to express their authentic selves with ease, sharing their feelings, and showing their vulnerabilities without fear of judgment, rejection, or considered as weak.
Psychological safety is the most essential ‘group norm’ to build despite the industry and culture. Yet, are we open to communicating this or accepting having such a move at home, at work, or as individuals during our interactions?
The quick answer is NO!!!
But, there are many advocates, and business leaders strive to embrace it in their DNA. They start with considering mental health and wellness within their teams or during interactions with a friend or a family member.
However, this is not enough; we need more structured actions toward psychological safety, from the hiring process in organizations to onboarding to continuous following-up. And same applies to our personal life; we shall request and share our desire to have a safe space while interacting with a friend, a relative, or a beloved one, starting from day one.
So, how can we build it? I am learning while executing, and here is what works for me.
- Accepting that we’ll face resistance and stigma about such a new norm. While building what I called ‘Heart Units’ at organizations, I heard comments like ‘ Are you healing them?’, ‘Are you a psychiatric?’ ‘Do you have all their secrets?’, ‘Are you using their vulnerabilities against them?’ ‘Are you sharing that with their leader?’ and the like.
- Sharing attractive wellbeing boosting calls for employees or individuals to enroll. We named it ‘Heart Unit,’ an actual division in organizations that concerns only about building psychological safety to boost wellbeing, and of course, the by-product is outperforming individuals and teams on all fronts.
- Championing employees by selecting participants based on criteria of openness and willingness to commit and share what they experience and learn about themselves and such topics.
- Conducting playful group sessions with hands-on exercises followed by one-on-one sessions for a more human-centric connection. Where champions share areas of improvement, whether on a professional or personal level.
- Sharing data with the leader with anonymized recommendations about champions and having a friendly gathering with their leader. These actions contributed a big deal in breaking the ice between them all and building a genuine rapport.
- And finally and most importantly is giving employees a self-care tool; The WellShift app and the leader dashboard, built with love using Emotion/Augmented AI and includes human connection support groups.
So, what do these champions have in common?
a. Open to sharing their life experiences with ease.
b. Curious to know more and always look for new challenges.
c. Ego-free humans; know egoic thoughts are the number one cause of a dysfunctional life.
d. Committed to their personal growth.
Psychological safety is not restricted to workplaces; we can have it with our friends, families, and beloved ones.
Why am I sharing this?
I am passionate about these topics and am energized whenever I see the impact of building a safe space whenever we interact with others. Thus, I thought you might like to join the move.
When I started the implementation with one of our partners, I saw how challenging it is to create a new norm and how resistant some applicants are when discussing their emotions or values. They tend to be defensive when showing their true selves because they perceive authenticity as something they shall have with their closest friends only, NOT at the workspace or with colleagues.
And what I found was eye-opening; despite that some of these metrics are not directly measurable, we can measure their influence on other KPIs like team spirit and the number of conflicts instances, the number of initiatives, and the overall performance without having deadlines.
The ‘How’ mentioned above created a unique rapport between all members and me. They are ready to perform and communicate as humans, not laborers who share the same workspace.
Here are some funny notes I received from people who are intersted in having a professional connection, ONLY those who are achievers but do not have friends in the workspace.
Because they have one or more of these blocking beliefs; ‘colleagues are not friends we are here to work, not to build connections,’ ‘I have to wear a mask or pretend to be fine as otherwise is wrong, I’ll be perceived as weak,’ ‘I should be professional, no space for personal connection,’ ‘ I need to document everything on emails,’ ‘ I know others have biases about me,’ and the list goes on!!!
What is shocking about these beliefs is that they are all about being NOT us, trying hard to fit in rather than belonging to a higher purpose and our authentic selves where all our magic happens.
Thank God, after two rounds of work toward this goal with our partner, I can indeed say that we have succeeded together. And I found that the best way to change norms is to steadily move with baby steps and look for outcomes with curiosity and openness rather than considering them directives as they are super dynamic because, as humans, we are evolving, and our norms are the same.
And here are some questions that I’d like to leave you with;
Are YOU open to accepting such norms?
How do YOU embrace new norms?
And how do YOU encourage others to accept them?
#Psychologicalsafety #Authenticselves #Emotionnal Wellbeing