Psychological Safety Newsletter #35
Welcome to the psychological safety newsletter and thanks for subscribing. You’re awesome. This week includes proof that people like you more than you think, Transactional Analysis, teaching, post-mortems, Russ Ackoff and cloud transformation!Enjoy, and have a beautiful day.
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We’ve recently been reading ‘The Fearless Organization’ by Amy C. Edmondson, and Sophie Weston, Principal at Conflux, has put together some key takeaways from the book in this article.
Psychological Safety In the Workplace: Here’s a great post on the Vitamin T blog on Unlocking Creativity Through Diversity, and reflecting that through psychological safety, we can create a space for all to feel comfortable to throw out their ideas and not be afraid to fail. But we also need everyone’s ideas to be weighed fairly.
This is fab, from Alex Rawlings (@MrARawlings on Twitter) at Quarry Bank Primary school, who is looking at Psychological Safety and its role in monitoring standards of learning and teaching at school. He says: ‘Monitoring’ carries so much baggage – instead we are ‘Taking the Temperature’. Subtle change, but clearer intent!”
And continuing the teaching theme, here’s a useful article from Edfuel: Psychological Safety: One ingredient in the recipe for teacher and student wellbeing. The article discusses how a school with high psychological safety is positively correlated with wellbeing, creativity, innovation, and effectiveness. They have effectively ported the Fearless Organisation survey to apply to schools, and I’m interested to hear from teachers about this too.
Here’s a great piece by Leandro Herrero about the different kinds of spaces that leaders create for people – “the leader as a designer of spaces, a social architect that creates places (physical) and spaces?” Tanman Vora created the fab sketchnote below on these five spaces.
Episode 18 of the Made Tech “Making Tech Better” podcast covers, alongside much more, psychological safety in software testing. Worth a listen if you’re in tech, and one of the first times I’ve heard The Goal referenced in the same podcast as The fearless Organisation 🙂
Staying in tech for the moment, here’s a comprehensive piece on Incident Review and Postmortem Best Practices by Gergely Orosz. I love this point: “Encourage participants to recount their experiences as they happened, not as they think they should have responded in hindsight.“
Another podcast! In this episode of That Digital Show from Google cloud, Chris Hood and Natalie Piucco welcome Anna Baird, Head of Culture and Innovation for Customer Success at Google Cloud, and Sarah Masotti, Digital Transformation Lead at Google Cloud, to walk through a Master Class on change leadership, and the importance of communication and psychological safety to support organisations on their cloud transformation journey.
UK breakfast favourite firm Kellogg’s has announced it will provide more support to staff experiencing the menopause, pregnancy loss or fertility treatment, stating it was aiming to help staff feel “psychologically safe” at work. Managers will be trained on how to talk about the menopause and pregnancy loss and paid leave for pregnancy loss will be given without the need for a doctor’s note. I’m encouraged by the number of firms taking up this stance, and I hope we maintain momentum.
Psychological Safety Theory, Research and Opinion:
This is amazing! People like you more than you think. This paper “The Liking Gap in Conversations: Do People Like Us More Than We Think?” shows us that “following interactions people systematically underestimated how much their conversation partners liked them and enjoyed their company, an illusion we call the liking gap.” This has done wonders for my own psychological safety! 🙂 Thanks to Max Roser for the share.
I was introduced to the Three Ego States of Transactional Analysis many years ago and only this week thought to include it in the newsletter. The three Ego States of three Parent, Adult, and Child are states that we can find ourselves in, in differing contexts and interactions; Transactional analysis provides us with a useful framework with which to consider how and why conflict might occur in different interactions, and builds psychological safety by helping us recognise when we’re engaging in unconstructive dialogue and interactions. Here’s a fantastic breakdown of the concepts by Natali Morad.
“Until managers take into account the systemic nature of their organisations, most of their efforts to improve their performance are doomed to failure.” and “Continuous improvement isn’t as important as discontinuous improvement.” This is a fantastic speech from Russ Ackoff at a 1994 event hosted by Clare Crawford-Mason and Lloyd Dobyns to capture the Learning and Legacy of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Thanks to Ruth Malan for the share.
This is from Dr Amy Edmondson’s personal blog, and I really like Amy’s point about the epiphanic nature of being so involved in this world of encouraging progressive leadership, admitting fallibility, and avoiding micromanaging, but it’s all too easy for any of us to fall back into these behaviours and habits, particularly when under stress. Also, big shout out for Community!
Back to teaching, and this paper: “The Moderating Role of Psychological Empowerment on the Relationship between Individualism-Collectivism perceptions and Burnout of Teachers“, which, if I understand it correctly, suggests that (to be potentially over-concise): we are stronger together – and resist burnout more effectively when acting as a collective – but individually we are more susceptible to burnout. Psychological safety however, mitigates the weakness of an individualistic culture.
Things to do and try: Building a Virtual Office when working remotely is a blend of introduction round, ice breaker and team builder while providing valuable insights into pre-existing dynamics, individual sentiments and functional expertise. It’s a great way to foster a degree of psychological safety at the start of a virtual meeting or workshop. Thanks to Janina Sutter, Technical Project Manager at Red Hat, for the practice. Thanks to Dr Edmondson for this too – psychological safety: how to say it:
This week’s poem: Today I Was So Happy, So I Made This Poem, by James Wright
As the plump squirrel scampers
Across the roof of the corncrib,
The moon suddenly stands up in the darkness,
And I see that it is impossible to die.
Each moment of time is a mountain.
An eagle rejoices in the oak trees of heaven,
This is what I wanted.
From Risking Everything: 110 Poems
Harmony Books, 2007.