Hi meaningful leader,
During last week’s article, we talked about the relevance of a healthy company culture and its impact in the performance of the team. Therefore, for this week I want to highlight ways in which us, leaders can create and promote a culture that supports high performance, continuous improvement and team engagement.
Silos are one of the worst things a company can allow, but in the context of the company culture at large, versus the individual leader’s contribution and range of control; like in our home life, we change the world by the impact we have at home, or in this case, in our individual teams.
Paraphrasing the words of Simon Sinek, the role of the leaders is not to come up with all the great ideas but they must create the environment in which great ideas are born. Leaders who care about the healthiness of their teams and the culture in which they perform, will strive to create an environment in which the team can grow while feeling safe and supported.
This refers to a term I recently became deeply familiarized with through my coaching training, which summarizes this idea and it’s called Psychological Safety, and for the sake of this article we are going to approach it from the workplace standpoint. According to the “Great Places to Work” 2018 SMU Research Study, “psychological safety had 10 times the impact on teamwork than all other organizational climate factors combined”
This term is believe to have been used first by the organizational researchers Schein and Bennis in the 1960s and it can be defined as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.
In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected . It is also the most studied enabling condition in group dynamics and team learning research.
If we revert to our childhood years, the best way to learn something new was by doing. For example, I remember my first bike and how terrified I was of letting go of the training wheels, but off they came and I was ready to go on without them, because I had practice enough in the safe environment the safety wheels but above all, my mom created for me.
Penalizing people for making mistakes when trying something new can create a culture of fear of retaliation, which sooner rather than later will communicate to the team that it’s best to do things the way we’ve always done them and steer clear of trouble…and that’s how innovation and creativity dies.
As leaders, we are considered to be problem-solvers and yes, that should be part of our DNA, but the best, most innovative ideas and solutions are normally born from the incredible dynamic that team brainstorming produces. Creating a safe haven where ideas and innovation can flow freely should be a leader’s everyday mantra.
Getting the job done right is indeed our main priority at work, but doing so in a way in which OUR people are engaged, happy, growing, motivated, respected, challenged and appreciated, can make a world of difference. As employees, we are not limited to being a human resource. We are all creative minds, with plenty of ideas and experiences to be shared and it is only when a company’s culture is strong and healthy that our best can overflow.
Regardless of the emphasis an organization puts into fostering the ideal company culture in which their strategy and team can succeed, reality is that such culture has already been defined by the worst behaviors its leaders are willing to tolerate without consequences.
Thanks for reading and God bless,