Psychological Safety

Google spent an inordinate amount of time and money determined to figure out what characteristics make the best and most productive team. After studying over 200 internal teams for over a year, here are the five characteristics that were prevalent in the top performers: 

  1. Dependability: Team members get things done on time and meet expectations.
  2. Structure and Clarity: High performing teams have clear goals, and have well defined roles within the group.
  3. Meaning: The work has personal significance to each member.
  4. Impact: The group believes their work is purposeful and positively impacts the greater good.
  5. Psychological Safety: We’ve all been in meetings -- and due to the fear of seeming incompetent, have held back questions or ideas. The best teams created an environment where it was safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgement free questions. Of the five, this was the most impactful characteristic of successful teams.

Whether you are an employee at Google or a 3-year-old at home, everyone has a deep need to feel respected. Creating a psychologically safe environment where everyone’s opinion can be heard is the ultimate form of respect. Ultimately a leader must make a decision, but making sure that everyone has been heard and respected is a great way to maintain a productive and committed team. 

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