Tuesday, 28 November 2023 IMS HomepageHome

Psychological Safety

Google in 2015 published the results of a two year study into what makes a great team. The study results clearly indicated that it wasn’t necessarily the teams that had the most senior people, those with the highest IQs or even teams that made the least amount of mistakes.

What the study showed was that a great team required five key dynamics to be successful.

  • Psychological safety
  • Dependability
  • Structure & clarity
  • Meaning
  • Impact.

The study concluded that while all five were needed to create a successful team, psychological safety stood out as the most important factor.

Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. The existence of psychological safety within the team allows for moderate risk-taking, speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off — this is all the type of behaviour that leads to market breakthroughs and innovation.

The Google study found that the teams which made more mistakes were actually more successful. Creating an environment in which people feel comfortable to take risks is key to fostering innovative workplaces. A really great team is on in which all members feel secure enough to bounce ideas off each other and in so doing strengthen action plans, help solve issues and provide support for each other. 

Psychological safety is about creating an environment in which people feel respected, accepted and comfortable to be themselves.