PART 2: PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY
“Boss” is a broad term with responsibilities that can differ vastly based on industry, organizational structure, and more. But when it comes to being a good boss, there are 6 key themes that hold true whether you’re a tenured CEO, new frontline manager, or something in between. In this multi-part series, we’ll be exploring the 6 coaching themes that are critical for leaders, outlining exactly what best practices and behaviors bosses need to become high-performance coaches for their teams.
This is the second installment of a 7-part series. Before reading on, we suggest you click here to start with Part 1.
LET’S LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
At the core, psychological safety is the concept where people feel like they can be themselves and express themselves without judgment or ridicule from others.
A work environment that is psychologically safe is one where team members can be open, feeling supported and secure in interactions with their leader and peers. Our research shows that this leads to effective communication, higher employee retention rates and increased team performance.
Ecsell has researched how leaders that perpetuate psychological safety impact their teams, and we’ve found that:
- Psych safety scores vary greatly between organizations (69% low – 85% high). The higher the score, the more effective the team.
- Psych safety scores vary even more between individual leaders (25% low – 96% high). The higher the score, the more effective the leader.
- Work experience, generational differences, and size of team do not impact psych safety scores.
- The top-rated leaders we’ve researched have an average psych safety score of 84%.
- The lowest-rated leaders we’ve researched have an average psych safety score of 36%.
- Leaders whose psychological safety scores are the top 20% of Ecsell’s research lead teams that average $4.3 million more in revenue per leader per year.
HOW TO DRIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY ON YOUR TEAM
Now that we know what psychological safety is, why it’s important, and how it helps your team and your business, let’s talk about four important behaviors that drive a high level of psychological safety.
1. Encourage Unique Opinions
Simply put, this is encouraging team members to voice an opinion that is not necessarily a popular opinion in the larger group. We want them to feel comfortable saying the thing that nobody else is saying. You can increase psychological safety for your team by allowing and encouraging this.
2. Avoid Micromanagement
When you micromanage, you’re communicating “I don’t trust you to do this thing.” If your team members don’t feel trusted, they won’t have high psychological safety. Instead, give your team the freedom to get things done. And if you don’t actually trust them to do the task, don’t give them the job.
3. Support Smart Risk-Taking
As a leader, you need to be willing to allow your team to try things in new and different ways. If deciding between a new way and old way, have a “new idea bias.” Ask your team to search for reasons why new ideas will work, not just why they won’t.
4. Move Quickly Past Mistakes
When you focus on the past mistakes of your team, you’re going to make people feel like they always have the potential to be judged, or even attacked. So, when mistakes are made, address it and move past it.
We’ve created a psychological safety cheat sheet for leaders filled with easy-to-execute best practices to help adopt the four behaviors above. Improving in even just one of these areas will yield positive returns in how psychologically safe your team members feel at work. Click the button below to download the cheat sheet for free.