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 by 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 triggers 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.
To celebrate random acts of kindness day and live our Give Back company value, our team donated to Kind Hearts Illawarra.
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 encouraging everyone to share a 'good thing' each day.
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 enables high-performing agile teams!