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What Does Safety Mean about Success?

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

How Safe Does Your Team Feel?

There is an old African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go TOGETHER.” We at WeInspireWe wholeheartedly embrace this truth, not only within our team, but in the work we do to equip and empower leaders with their teams and organizations. While working to grow and stretch in our ability to serve, support and develop leaders and teams we ran across a short, and very thought provoking TEDTalk we want to share with you.

In her talk, Amy Edmundson shares that the key to true collaboration and making magic happen as a team is creating an environment of psychological safety, one in which your people feel safe enough to take risks and secure enough to learn from one another. With a culture like this, work becomes less about “I”, or even “we” for that matter. The team becomes focused instead on those who are being served and supported by the work they are doing.

Psychological safety is located where you find the overarching attributes of humility and curiosity.

Why are humility and curiosity so powerful in creating psychological safety? Humility, especially in the face of challenge, empowers us to:

  • Step outside our own limitations

  • Ask for help when we need it

  • And learn from everyone and everything around us

Curiosity about what others bring to the table takes us another step further into collaboration and synergy because we are actively seeking out the knowledge, experience and expertise of the entire group.

How do we foster and role model humility and curiosity for our team?

How do we actively develop these attributes within ourselves, our team and our culture? It’s about more than just creating a great place to work; it's about doing more as teams and organizations than we ever thought possible. According to Edmondson, here are 3 simple things you can do to begin building and maintaining psychological safety with your teams...

  1. Frame the work as a learning problem, not an execution problem. This creates and communicates the need for sharing, challenging and discussing.

  2. Acknowledge your own fallibility. This demonstrates humility and makes it easier for others to admit their own mistakes.

  3. Model curiosity. Provide and example for what healthy questioning, ideation and innovation looks like.

What other ideas and suggestions come to mind for you? Understanding your team culture is the first step of many to ensure psychological safety and ultimately greater outcomes for your team. Often, having a third-party can help to see gaps or opportunities that are not as obvious for those in the thick of it. WeInspireWe offers team analysis and 360 peer reviews, among other team development services. Or we are simply just happy to brainstorm with you on how best to integrate humility and curiosity in your leadership practice. Sign-up today for a FREE strategy session with Mike to dig in deeper.

Mike Clouse, The WeInspireWe Belief Coach, is a certified professional coach with double-digit years of experience in coaching, advising and mentoring others to step into full belief of themselves resulting in greater leadership and long-term potential.


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