Psychological safety in work teams
I love this study by Amy C Edmondson, Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School – “Managing the risk of learning – psychological safety in work teams”.
I blogged about this in a previous post of mine “something I never believed in until I experienced it” back in July 2010. The underlying principle was essentially the same as what Ms. Amy suggested in her study. The fact that I had ‘psychological safety in my work team’ is what contributed and enabled me to take the level of risk that I did. In fact our safety was so much that when we made a boo-boo we were the first ones to step and say that we’ve made one. The rest would then step in to try to limit the effect of that slip up. We were more concerned with solving issues and devising ways of preventing the same mistake from repeating itself than we were in playing the blame game. No doubt that it is this air of accountability, responsibility and backing by the managers that allowed us in the new and growing organization to step up to bat rather than trying to melt incognito in the background.
I took that learning to heart and it’s something that I play by when I deal with my project team members. Yes, we are going to make mistakes but we will never find that new way of doing something until we take the risk of making that mistake. As long as we have a risk mitigation plan and have done our best to minimise the impact, we can go ahead and make some smart mistakes. And through out all this, I hope my team members know that I will be standing behind them, backing them up all the way.