Software Engineering Management Coach
Does your team have psychological safety? This may be a much more important question than you think. It may seem unintuitive but safety is a critical ingredient to unlocking your team's potential. Google certainly believes so, and Amy Edmondson at Harvard Business School agrees.
When it comes to measuring psychological safety Edmondson recommends running this survey:
This is a good process but running a survey can be a fairly involved process. What are other ways to gauge your team's safety?
Try paying close attention to how your team interacts.
What do you hear? What behaviors do you observe? Team meetings are great for this. Especially problem solving or decision making meetings. The more contentious the better!
Listen for these safety signaling statements/questions:
Look for these and similar ones and then watch what happens!
Speaking up is only the first step. The true test is how leaders respond when people actually speak up.
Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization
For example, pay attention to these responses or characteristics of the interactions:
In addition look for these other telltale signs of safety:
You can try to observe these live, you can recruit your team or an outsider to observe with you, or you can record meetings explicitly for this purpose.
If you find yourself and the team lacking, then you've got work to do! It's time to build safety.
If you've already gone through the process of measuring psychological safety, leave me a comment or reach out, I'd love to hear about your experience.
The logical next question is how exactly do you go about building safety? While I do want to write more about that I don’t want to leave you hanging! Here are some good resources: