Psychological safety is the key to high performing teams. But how is it created?
Agility is the response to a complicated situation where unknowns override the knowns. A high performing team is one where all members have their say, and there are multiple decision-makers. Psychological safety is the belief that the workplace is safe for speaking up about ideas, concerns or even failures.
But where does kindness fit in?
Kindness is the foundation for psychological safety.
Kindness is essential at each of the first three stages of Dr Timothy R. Clark 4 Stages of Psychological Safety model.
Stage 1: Inclusion Safety
Humans long to feel accepted before they need to be heard. As a leader, you can create inclusion by showing kindness in the form of being aware, sensitive and curious about an employee’s life. A good starting place is; how was your weekend? How is the family this week? Have you got any exciting celebrations coming up? You seem a bit quiet today, is everything okay?
Stage 2: Learner Safety
Humans need to ask questions, give and receive feedback and make mistakes whilst feeling safe. Showing kindness creates the trust to do so.
Stage 3: Contributor Safety
Humans need to feel safe to participate as team members. A commitment to kindness ensures greater information flow, higher quality connections at work and an increase in collaboration.
Individuals thrive in environments with psychological safety. Fear shuts the human body down without these environments, triggering the self-censoring instinct, holding us back. When the environment nurtures psychological safety, there is an increase in confidence, engagement and high performance.
3 Tips for Implementing kindness in your Team Today
Tip 1: Model kindness yourself. No matter your role, kindness is contagious. If you start acting kindly, this will soon spread to your whole team. You can serve with kindness by listening, working with forgiveness, offering a helping hand, showing concern or celebrating significant events in a coworker's life.
At Easy Agile, we recently organised a team act of kindness. To celebrate random acts of kindness day, our team donated food and sanitary items to Kind Hearts Illawarra. This was a great way to encourage all members of the team to act with kindness.
Tip 2: Incorporate kindness into your team's ceremonies. Each team member can say one thing they are grateful for in the morning huddle. Each ceremony can leave room to give thanks to a fellow team member. At Easy Agile, we put this into practice by leaving room for thanks in our Marketing-all-hands.
Tip 3: Implement Good Thnx in your company Slack. The Good Thnx Foundation provides a link between people and corporates that want to give and charities. As our team send “thanks” to one another, the recipient is given $50 to donate to a charity of their choice. Our contribution via Good Thnx for FY21 was $15,201.
Simply put, be kind today; it is free and creates high performing agile teams!