Does your team speak up? Do they confront problems, or hold back not wanting to create waves? When was the last time the team openly challenged one of their leader’s decisions?
One company I know always involves the team in product decisions. When a new idea was put forward by a Vice President, it was a junior developer who challenged the suggestion. “What’s your evidence that this is the right change to do right now?”
The developer was asking a serious question, to validate the new feature was the most valuable thing.
In another company, the senior management team could not figure out why the company was struggling with customer retention.
When asked, the senior managers reported their employees seemed happy with the direction they were providing. Their evidence of this belief was the absence of anyone challenging their decisions.
What allows a junior employee to challenge a Vice-President in one company? What has no-one questioning decisions in another?
The impact of Phycological Safety
Phycological safety is when you feel the people around you are giving you the benefit of the doubt. When the benefit of doubt exists it means they are always assuming your intentions are good. When you have this type of safety, it’s easier to take risks.
Think of a place you can just be you without worry. It might be on a team, in a group or with your family. You can just be yourself. When Things go wrong, you might be embarrassed or have a good laugh, but you never feel judged.
What might be different if everyone on your team could feel this way? The team would stop playing it safe. The team would be more willing to try new and innovative things. They would be less worried about stretching their boundaries.
Do the people you lead feel safe? If not, you may want to look at how to increase trust and vulnerability.
You’ve got this.