Anyone who has ever had to do a group project at university or team up with colleagues on a committee knows the feeling of joy when things go well and the sense of frustration when things don’t.
On the surface, most of us tend to look for obvious factors behind a team’s success, such as group size, where and how often the team meets, and the right mix of personalities and skills, but an initiative started in 2012 by Google found that there was one main factor in a group’s positive achievements.
Creating an environment of psychological safety is the key factor in making a team successful. Psychological safety means that members within a team feel secure enough to take risks – to share their opinions, speak their mind and feel confident that others will listen and respect their point of view.
Leaders play an integral role in implementing a culture that allows their teams to prosper. Encouraging an environment in which employees feel both relaxed and energised isn’t easy, and in fact, many of the ‘soft’ skills and behaviours required to create psychological safety don’t come naturally to everyone.
Working successfully with diverse team members to achieve a common goal is challenging for many leaders. But we have found some of the most powerful things leaders can do are relatively easy to implement:
· Encourage openness about your team members’ insecurities and fears
· Share aspirations with each other
· Acknowledge when you make mistakes
· Support innovation and accept failure as part of trying something new
· Help team members to listen empathically and challenge each other sensitively
Leaders who create an environment of psychological safety are rewarded with team members who feel secure to take on new challenges and who want to contribute fully to the life of the organisation.
Many leaders are competent, passionate and diligent, but they haven’t quite managed to get the best out of their team. Participating in team coaching is often the ideal way to find out how to establish psychological safety and harness the potential of all your team members.
Research has found that high performance teams tend to have leaders that inspire more than they drive, resolve conflicts and increase cooperation, set stretch goals and are trusted by their team.
By helping teams identify and understand internal dynamics, high performance coaching supports individuals and leaders to recognise their strengths, identify potential fracture lines and learn how to use company culture and your shared values to strengthen your team.
Time and again, we have found that high performance coaching helps bridge the gap between knowledge and practice.
Our high performance coaching works with leaders and individuals to help you and your team achieve peak performance.
Corporate Diversity Pathways is a full service diversity and inclusion advisory focussed on empowering women for diversity, happiness, inclusion and peak performance. We do this through Careers for Women, Executive Development Programs, Coaching for Peak Performance, Workplace Wellness, D+I Advisory and Action, D+I Leaders Network and The Power of Mentoring.