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Psychological Safety

What makes the most successful teams? Google studied hundreds of their teams to find the answer. Leaders assumed it had to do with grouping like-minded individuals, or matching top performers. They were wrong. 

The number one most important factor in the top performing teams? Psychological safety. 

According to Google’s researchers, Psychological Safety means team members feel safe to take risks, admit mistakes, ask questions, and throw out new ideas, without fear of negative consequences or “being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive.” 

Now think about where you work…

Is There Room for Curiosity and Authenticity?

To Be Curious

When the pressure is on, we “just” have to get it done/right/fixed/faster/stronger/better. We don’t have the freedom to consider different perspectives and asking questions doesn’t seem like the best solution either. 

Or do we?

Pressure is a curiosity killer. When that teammate disagrees with you, do you feel the pressure to prove yourself, or to convince your teammate of your perspective? When your project didn’t get the expected results, or your customer is upset, or you’re struggling to finish that thing… Do you feel the pressure to “just know” or “just get it done”? 

OR do you feel the freedom to be curious about what your team member’s perspective is, what you missed in planning the project, what is truly important to your customer, who could be the most helpful, etc?

The truth is, it is your choice.

So the next time you feel the pressure is on, try choosing curiosity. It might just open your mind to a better way to get it done/right/fixed/faster/stronger/better.

In a safe environment with psychological safety, curiosity can be a gateway to greater ideas and understanding, not a barrier to getting work done or having autonomy.

To Be Authentic

If you are who you are, why is it hard to be yourself? Why do we have phrases like “you do you” “be true to yourself” and “know thyself?” 

Unfortunately, there are socialized pressures to act in certain ways and can lead to a lack of psychological safety. 

“Leaders know what to say,” “promotions go to those who speak up,” “only ask ‘intelligent’ questions,” and “put your head down and work”… Different life experiences give us a shared belief that certain traits get rewarded, so we morph to try to perform.

But the world needs who YOU authentically are, not the status quo. You are wired to think in a certain way, see a certain perspective, and address problem-solving in a distinctly valuable way.

When we try to hide or morph these characteristics, our work drains us, and the world misses out on what we have to offer. 

That’s why you receive coaching tips on your unique wiring. We hope that over time, these help you to see opportunities to lean into your authentic self, so that you can be more satisfied in your work, and so that we all benefit from you, being you.

What are some ways you can start being your full, true self at work?

a circle shows two different coaching tips from Cloverleaf

Take Action

Cloverleaf is built to foster this psychological safety. We know that the most impactful work depends on being able to respectfully disagree, openly share seemingly divergent ideas, and through it all, appreciate each teammate’s humanity and unique strengths. We need each other’s differences to help us do our best work collectively in a safe workplace that encourages interpersonal risk-taking.

If you want to increase your team’s psychological safety, check out this TEDx talk by Harvard researcher Amy Edmondson. In the talk, Edmondson offers practical steps any team member can implement in their work environments. Edmondson even wrote the book The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth: another valuable resource to serve you well as you navigate this topic.

Here’s to doing our best work together!