I watched a video by Trevor Ragan called, Better Leadership and Learning, whereby he described the concept of psychological safety.
Noting the work of Harvard professor Amy Edmondson, he states that the single characteristic that predicts a successful team is whether or not teammates feel psychologically safe.
You should look up the video, but psychologically safe organizations have teammates who feel like they can speak up, deal with issues openly and learn from mistakes. The converse is true. Where people don’t feel safe, they don’t speak up. They bury issues until they become bigger problems that demand attention, and repeat mistakes because learning doesn’t take place.
He further states that teams create psychological safety when individuals on the team are willing to “model vulnerability.”
What do vulnerable teammates do?
They ask the question that everyone is thinking. You’ve had the experience where someone asks the question that was on your mind, but you were reluctant to ask it. Once that question gets asked, dialogue typically opens, and more questions follow. Ask the question.
They acknowledge the situation that everyone sees. This is called naming the elephant in the room. We use the phrase “putting the facts on the table” as an indication of our culture. Facts and situations that everyone sees and fails to bring forth are prolonging the inevitable. Name the elephants.
Go first. Raise your hand. Volunteer to take the first at-bat. Show others that while the risk is real, the opportunity is worth the risk.
Offer to help. Once the process begins, join in. Be willing to add to the effort.
I’ve been on teams that lean in. They care. They help. They sacrifice. I’m on one of those teams now. I appreciate the “vulnerability” you bring to work situations every day. It’s what has made us great.