Psychological Safety

From Weekly I/O#71

The most crucial indicator of successful teams: Psychological safety.

Book: Smarter Faster Better

Psychological safety is a shared belief among team members that their environment is safe to take interpersonal risks. Teams with high levels of psychological safety have the following attributes:

  1. Members feel confident in admitting mistakes, asking questions, or offering new ideas without fear of embarrassment or punishment.
  2. One can freely question another's choices, but the person being questioned knows the intention is not to ostracize them.
  3. Everyone respects differing opinions.

Research done both in academics and companies like Google has identified psychological safety as the primary determinant of team success. Knowing "If I make a mistake on our team, it is not held against me" proves to be a stronger predictor of team effectiveness than just "grouping the best people makes for the best teams".

Thanks to Vincent Mo for reiterating this concept, prompting me to revisit this book after I first read it 7 years ago.

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