What makes high-performing teams tick? According to a Google study called Project Aristotle, its psychological safety.
In this blog, we will discuss the role of psychological safety in project teams and the different ways to create it at the workplace as a project manager.
What is Psychological Safety?
Psychological safety in project teams is the consensus that taking interpersonal risks as a group is safe. These risks include, among others, sharing innovative ideas and speaking out when there are issues with the team dynamics.
In such teams, team members feel:
- The environment is safe for interpersonal risk taking
- They are able to speak up when needed
- Colleagues can be candid with each other
Role of Psychological Safety in Project Teams
Taking a chance in front of your team members could seem easy. However, a simple query like “what is the purpose of this project?” could give the impression that you are unaware of the situation. To avoid appearing ignorant, it could be simpler to keep going without seeking clarification.
Imparting steps to establish psychological safety in project teams eliminates or reduces the anxiety and stress among the team members and gives them the freedom to ask questions.
How to Create Psychological Safety in Project Teams
Holding people accountable for performance indicators is part of your role as a leader, but it’s not the end of it. Additionally, keeping employees engaged is vital to fostering a sense of comfort among everyone on the team that taking risks is acceptable.
Here are five tips for building psychological safety in the workplace.
- Show your team you’re engaged
Employees will stop participating if they think you don’t listen to them when they talk or don’t appreciate what they have to say.
Attend meetings to demonstrate your engagement. This means closing your laptop and making eye contact. It’s simple to get sidetracked by emails, texts, or Slack during a meeting, but these minor disengagement instances can harm your team’s psychological safety.
- Let your team see you understand
When your team knows you value them enough to comprehend and consider their viewpoint, they feel psychologically comfortable.
Recap what was said to show that you comprehend. Say things like, “From what I understand, you said _____ .” Is that accurate? This demonstrates your want to comprehend their viewpoint. It also allows your team members to clarify anything you may have misunderstood.
- Avoid blaming to build trust
Finding someone to blame when something goes wrong is simple. But concentrate on finding solutions if you want to create and keep psychological safety in project teams.
Asking, “What went wrong and why?” should be replaced by “How can we ensure this happens better next time?” Take note of the accent on teamwork in the following question: How can we make sure this goes well the next time? Instead of blaming one person for a mistake, we statement convert accountability into a group endeavor.
- Be self-aware – and demand the same from your team
People contribute to work, including their personalities, tastes, and working methods. By letting your teams know how you prefer to work, communicate, and be acknowledged, you may help everyone on the team become more self-aware. Encourage the rest of your team to follow suit.
- Stop being negative right away
Speak to any team members who disparage their coworkers in front of the group. Make it plain to them that you work as a team and that negativity will not be accepted.
When leaders permit negativity to persist, it can catch on and spread to others. Employees may believe that they should criticize others or that others are probably talking negatively about them. Psychological safety gets killed in both scenarios.
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