Lesson 2.16

The Principle Of Psychological Safety

Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key explanations below:

Key Concepts:

  • Getting in “The Zone” of optimal cognitive friction boils down to feeling “psychologically safe” to go against the grain.

  • Psychological safety is about being able to express yourself without fear of being kicked out of the group.

  • A team that can provide this reassurance to its members—by practicing the things we’ve been learning about in this section of the course—will maximize its chances of harnessing its cognitive diversity.

  • We can foster psychological safety by explicitly telling people that their place in the group is secure.

  • However, actions speak louder than words when it comes to feeling safe. This is where taking micro-opportunities (see Lesson 1.13) to reinforce this becomes powerful. For example:

    • When people put forward ideas that don’t work, or don’t “win,” praise them for helping to push the group forward. (Instead of only rewarding people for being right.)

    • Be the first to admit you could be wrong, or to announce that you’ve changed your mind.

    • Stand up for people when there are conversations about them when they aren’t present. Those who see you do this will assume (correctly, I hope!) that you have their backs, too.

    • When things go wrong, be curious rather than placing blame.

    • Share responsibility for outcomes as a member of the team, so no one person has to shoulder the psychological risk of any given failure.