Burnout Recovery

Ep#129 Psychological Safety for Teams

June 20, 2024 Dex Randall Season 2 Episode 129
Ep#129 Psychological Safety for Teams
Burnout Recovery
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Burnout Recovery
Ep#129 Psychological Safety for Teams
Jun 20, 2024 Season 2 Episode 129
Dex Randall

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Have you ever considered how safe you feel at work to speak up, take risks, or be yourself? And if you are a leader, how that affects your leadership and team? 

Here we tackle the much-discussed (but often not implemented) basics of psychological safety. It's more than a buzzword; it's the bedrock of team stability, where belonging, confidence and innovation can flourish. 🌱 I share insights on how emotional unsafety can silently erode job satisfaction and results, and why every team member plays a role in fostering a supportive work environment. Listen to discover the subtle signs of a psychologically safe workplace and the amazing upsides that brings.

Show Notes:
Shawn Achor TED Talk
Big Potential (video) by Shawn Achor
Big Potential (book) by Shawn Achor
The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety by Timothy R. Clark
Ep#128 Personal Psychological Safety

----------------------------------- Burnout Resources:
Get 1-on-1 burnout recovery coaching at https:/mini.dexrandall.com
Burnout Recovery eCourse: https://go.dexrandall.com/beatburnout
For even more TIPS see
FACEBOOK: @coachdexrandall
INSTAGRAM: @coachdexrandall
LINKEDIN: @coachdexrandall
TWITTER: @coachdexrandall
or join the FACEBOOK group for burnout coaches only
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1030925731159138

See https://linktr.ee/coachdexrandall for all links

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Have you ever considered how safe you feel at work to speak up, take risks, or be yourself? And if you are a leader, how that affects your leadership and team? 

Here we tackle the much-discussed (but often not implemented) basics of psychological safety. It's more than a buzzword; it's the bedrock of team stability, where belonging, confidence and innovation can flourish. 🌱 I share insights on how emotional unsafety can silently erode job satisfaction and results, and why every team member plays a role in fostering a supportive work environment. Listen to discover the subtle signs of a psychologically safe workplace and the amazing upsides that brings.

Show Notes:
Shawn Achor TED Talk
Big Potential (video) by Shawn Achor
Big Potential (book) by Shawn Achor
The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety by Timothy R. Clark
Ep#128 Personal Psychological Safety

----------------------------------- Burnout Resources:
Get 1-on-1 burnout recovery coaching at https:/mini.dexrandall.com
Burnout Recovery eCourse: https://go.dexrandall.com/beatburnout
For even more TIPS see
FACEBOOK: @coachdexrandall
INSTAGRAM: @coachdexrandall
LINKEDIN: @coachdexrandall
TWITTER: @coachdexrandall
or join the FACEBOOK group for burnout coaches only
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1030925731159138

See https://linktr.ee/coachdexrandall for all links

[00:00:00] Hi everyone, my name's Dex Randall, and this is the Burnout to Leadership podcast, where I teach professional men to recover from burnout and get back to passion and reward at work.

[00:00:22] Hello, my friends, this is Dex. Welcome to this week's episode on psychological safety for teams. And of course, I do mean any team, but here we're going to focus on work teams, because after all, this is the Burnout Recovery podcast. And psychological unsafety is what undermines our stability, our sense of Belonging. Utility. Confidence. Performance. And ultimately, our job satisfaction and tenure at work. And that's a heavy load, huh? If you have not yet listened to the previous episode, which is number 126, on personal psychological safety, I recommend that you do. Partly because everything that I talk about here today will refer back to that.

[00:01:12] So I'm going on two purposes today. One is to help you identify whether or not you have psychological safety at work and what is missing, if something is. And also how that might impact you day to day and long term at work, your career, your mental and physical wellbeing even. And the second thread is to help you learn how to support those around you.

[00:01:37] Primarily it's aimed at leaders seeking to establish psychological safety at work. But anyone can do it and have a beneficial effect on those who work around them, because we might live in a culture that emphasizes personal gain over mutual support. That doesn't mean you have to play it that way, right? And also, let me be clear on one thing, first of all.

[00:02:03] It will not deplete you to work on building psychological safety in the people around you. Because like love and like compassion, the more you give, the more you feel, the better you feel. It will not only make you stronger, you will be more loved and respected at work. You'll probably feel more sense of belonging. You're going to have the benefit of helping the humans that you work with to flourish, improving relationships, reducing stigma and discrimination, quite likely promoting team bonding and mutual support amongst them. And basically, when you do this, it just outright feels good, to you and to the people who share it with you.

[00:02:48] Leaders who lead from the heart, who care about and connect with their team, who inspire and encourage and listen without judgment, who stimulate others performance and celebrate others' wins, take responsibility on themselves for team failure -they're just beautiful connectors in their workplaces. You probably know a few.

[00:03:11] They'll have a really good reason to get up in the morning. They will be the influence that creates not just safety, but joy, collaboration, inspiration, creativity, connection within a team. And such a team has proven to be more successful. And I would point you here to Shawn Achor's book, Big Potential.

[00:03:32] Shawn's a Harvard researcher on happiness. I'm going to put his video in the show notes to introduce you to his work. It's really epic. If you don't know it, have a look. Basically the joy of giving is the same as the joy of creating psychological safety for the people around you. So it will be good for you as well as good for others.

[00:03:54] It's not going to take additional time or effort on your part. And when it comes down to it. All of this is what our hearts want. If you, as a leader or a co worker, focus on cultivating psychological safety just where you can. Even if the containing environment, the organisation or whatever, is hostile or antipathetic in some way. You will move people. People will feel allegiance to you. They're starving of this support and care right now, I bet. And all this means that as a heart centered leader, protecting, nourishing, and freeing your team, you're going to be eager to turn up at work in the morning. I've seen it happen time after time with my clients.

[00:04:42] What you do is, as you offer this out, you're creating a cell of goodness in the workplace In which big things can happen. And it will feed your soul. You'll find the purpose you lost. And you are always the first beneficiary.

[00:05:01] I can be quite persuasive when I want to! I wonder if any of that is hitting home with you? Perhaps you'll let me know? But all of this applies even if right now you feel embittered, burned out, crushed by the system. Perhaps even more so then. Because burnout recovery empowers heart centered leadership.

[00:05:22] And once you have it. You can share it at no emotional or mental or physical cost within your team. And if they're not feeling safe under the current work system, right now, Maybe they need you to recover from burnout and stand up and be that person for them. Do you think so? By the way, if you do listen to episode 126 on personal psychological safety, what I discuss is one of the reasons burnout recovery works so tremendously well.

[00:05:55] If you don't feel safe at work, which in burnout you probably don't, you can create psychological safety for yourself, by yourself. And it starts there and I can teach you. I can help you shed the shackles of this difficult system you're working under without needing that system itself to change. Because that could be a while coming, right?

[00:06:19] So the great news is, if you're trying to create safety for yourself, or for your teams or colleagues at work, you can do it. And that, to be honest my friend, before we even start on the details, is why I love this coaching work so much. I get to help really amazing people, such as yourself, who've been a bit mangled by their work to be really amazing and joyful again and share that uplift by supporting and empowering the people that work around them.

[00:06:52] Okay, so that's my little rant. Why you might like to spend time learning and understanding the basic building blocks of psychological safety with a view to applying some of them in your workplace. Safety, of course, is right at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, isn't it? It's non negotiable. Without safety, your nervous system will live on red alert and nothing much else will get any airtime. So if you're working in a psychologically not very safe workplace, then probably everybody feels a little bit like that. Most of their energy every day is going into self preservation - doesn't sound very productive, does it?

[00:07:37] I think it's a tiny little bit short sighted, to be honest with you, of any organisation to neglect psychological safety. Because if we try to meet capitalist goals without this worker safety, it sounds a tiny bit like exploitation of the dumbest kind. It's terribly expensive to employ people who feel unsafe because they won't willingly contribute, cooperate, strive, engage, or even show up at work. Never mind perform at their highest. Performance, contribution, engagement, and innovation all rise with safety. As does loyalty, of course. Not the superficial loyalty. But the gut connection loyalty of people who are forming a community together. So as far as I'm concerned, psychological safety makes extremely good financial sense for any organization.

[00:08:37] If you don't believe me maybe you'd like to read Good to Great by Jim Collins. Hey ho, anyway, as I said, we're working at the individual level here, so we will instead be working on being the change that we seek. We're going to provide safety for ourselves and for each other. It's for the best. It doesn't require us to change a whole organization.

[00:09:02] Psychological safety, once we have it, includes such delightful things as security, belonging, and fulfillment. You'll be missing all of those in an unsafe environment. So really you can see what fruit it's going to bear to conduct all your work in a psychologically safe environment. And did anyone mention here a contented and engaged workforce?

[00:09:28] So what I'll give you now is, if you haven't familiarized yourself with the nuts and bolts of psychological safety, let's just do a little quick primer on that. And for this, I lean on Timothy R. Clark, my total hero, and his excellent book, The Four Stages of Psychological Safety. It's in the show notes, please do read it.

[00:09:52] What it is basically, it's a really compact manual. It's not a very big book, You'll be glad to hear. It's a very compact manual explaining the stages of psychological safety and how to achieve them as a leader. And it also has a bunch of really insightful questions to ask yourself as that leader to check exactly where you sit right now with offering and cultivating safety in your team, how are you doing? Take your own temperature. How congruent are your beliefs and values with psychological safety? Because most of us wouldn't be able to guess the answer to that. And then it tells you how to adjust your beliefs and values if you need to, to get the best out of your team. 

[00:10:34] I think this book is a perfect starting place for you to work with your team to stimulate teamwork and create innovation. And if you think about it, I'm saying innovation because that's a peak indicator of performance. Because really it's important to both parts of the equation - to the people who are working and to the management because it creates competitive advantage.

[00:11:00] It keeps you in the marketplace. Any company that's continuing to innovate will retain its competitive advantage. Therefore, and here I quote Tim,  "The leader's task is to simultaneously Increase intellectual friction and decrease social friction." 

[00:11:23] So, we want to aim for a culture that stimulates innovation by reducing the friction between people.

[00:11:32] I think it's a very succinct quote, one of so many in the book. And according to Tim, psychological safety is a condition in which you feel one, included, two, safe to learn, three, safe to contribute, and four, safe to challenge the status quo. All without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized, or punished in some way.

[00:11:59] I don't know why he hasn't said silenced in there, because I would have put that too, but there you go. So really what it's all about creating this safety is, it's really about creating deep states of belonging, and it necessarily embraces diversity as well, which he will talk about in the book. So the four stages of safety are Inclusion, Learner, Contributor, and Challenger.

[00:12:24] Inclusion: Am I including everybody in equally? Learner: Is it safe for people to not know things and ask questions and learn them? Contributor: Can people contribute their own ideas to augment what we already know and have? And Challenger: Can people challenge the status quo in safety? There's lots and lots of questions in the book you can ask yourself as a leader to see how you relate with those ideas.

[00:12:53] Here's the four most simple questions you can ask yourself now. So about Inclusion safety, and inclusion safety is including everybody in as equal: Do you believe all people are created equal? A tougher question than it sounds.  

[00:13:11] Learner safety: Is it safe for your people to learn? To not know things? Here's the question: Without bias or discrimination, do you encourage others to learn and grow? Contributor safety: Can people voice their own ideas to supplement what you already know. Here's the question: Do you grant others maximum autonomy? Or are you secretly micromanaging?

[00:13:38] And the last one, Challenger Safety. So these grade up. You start with Inclusion Safety. You move on to create Learner Safety. You move on to create Contributor Safety on top of that. And the last pillar, the final achievement is Challenger Safety. And the question is: Do you consistently invite others to challenge the status quo?

[00:13:59] They're a bunch of hard questions, eh? And in answering those questions, you're going to see where your work is with creating this psychological safety for your team. And, of course, please do read Tim's book. To learn how to get there from here in every little detail.

[00:14:24] As a leader, it's really on you to create a new culture of respect within your team in which you can promote this culture of safety. And don't forget as you do this, if you embark on this, number one, check your own attitude and language because you have to lead by example . Teach people how to communicate in a new way with one another, with respect, with inclusion, with good listening skills.

[00:14:57] People won't get those by accident. You will need to teach them if they don't already have those skills. Also, invite feedback to create collaborative change. So this is about inviting ideas, yeah? They'll know what's good for the team and the products or the services that you're delivering. And, I certainly recommend right from the beginning, track performance metrics as you go. So find out what your performance metrics are now before you begin, and then measure them continuously every week so that you can demonstrate progress. I think when you have that, you're gonna surprise yourself.

[00:15:33] And as well on the way, a big component of this change as you are creating it freshly with a team, is to go from expecting and rewarding individual performance and individual excellence to incenting and rewarding team performance where one person will stimulate one or more other people to be successful. And that one for many is a really big leap. At this stage of the game, it's a little bit counterculture, isn't it? But when you compete and compare, there are always winners and losers. It's every man for himself. You lose the connection that psychological safety creates and needs and thrives on. So it needs to be a team based metric that you're measuring.

[00:16:23] Another challenge you might face if you're building safety into your team from scratch is that your higher ups might not be supportive of you or the changes that you're making. They might be skeptics or they might manage you away from that, but I think do it anyway, because you can. Measuring team performance may help change their minds. But If  not, maybe you can pioneer safety from your own level, sideways and downwards anyway. And I will mention that many of the skills required here relate to emotional intelligence. And I do teach this in my burnout recovery coaching program because of that. Because if 70 percent of any problem lies within the communication, then people skills are always at a premium.

[00:17:14] If you want ease of success and certainty; If you are burnt out or in an unsympathetic organization, you're going to need to upskill on the emotional intelligence because there are ways to speak truth to power that you may not currently be employing that will produce better results. And I'll give you an example.

[00:17:42] I've just coached a number of clients through performance plans by practicing exactly this. And what I teach them is how to speak from a new compassion and understanding towards the person they have been in conflict with, generally speaking their boss, rather than feeling, acting and thinking from this feeling of threat, defensiveness and resentment.

[00:18:06] Because if you can look at a problem you're having and genuinely feel neutral and express yourself from a place of compassion and understanding for the other party, it's really much easier for both of you to stay focused on a mutual solution. Again, it's just a skill you can learn. Everything in psychological safety is also just a skill that you can learn.

[00:18:30] Of course, if you're listening and you're not a leader, at least by job title, you can still learn about and offer safety one hallway conversation at a time. Don't hold back as a listener, supporter, and champion of your peers. Most of them are probably stuck pretty near first base in terms of feeling safe at work.

[00:18:51] And, it's going to be a huge contributor to their stress, isn't it? So you can help people out, just one on one. Once you give them the acceptance,

[00:19:01] Really that's going a long way to solve the problem for them because the need to be accepted precedes the need to be heard even. You can be a great ally with very low effort. I'm not going to share more from Tim. You've got the whole book to digest and enjoy. I really do recommend it. It's short, it's pithy, it's full of actionable insights, and it will help you in the practical steps to set up safety within your team.

[00:19:30] And you can emerge at the end with everything you need to know about psychological safety. If what you seek is simply personal psychological safety at work, listen to episode 126. But also, these are skills I teach in my Burnout Recovery program. Burnout Recovery is all about regaining your rightful power, showing up confidently as the full you.

[00:19:52] Allowing your intuitive good nature to preside over decision making rather than your externally stimulated fear and anxiety. It's about recognizing that fundamentally the world is not set up to defeat you and you can find ways to make good connections and experience reward at work. 

[00:20:13] It's about developing the people skills and the emotional skills

[00:20:18] that make your life easier and smoother. Reduce friction for you and promote genuine connection with others. Which is always a two way street, right? When you return to your power, it's not power over, it's just a confident and assertive, self assured position that works with people to find the best solutions.

[00:20:42] You're just seeing the world through a different lens that's not so problematic, from the outset. So if you are in burnout and you're feeling unsafe at work, suffering undue stress and anxiety, there is a remedy. Come and talk to me for free about how to recover quickly and sustainably. And get back to your best performance, leadership, success, and most of all, enjoyment inside work now.

[00:21:09] You can book an appointment at  dexRandall com. If you enjoyed this episode, please do help me reach more people in burnout by rating and reviewing the podcast and sharing the podcast with any friends you might have who are experiencing burnout. 

[00:21:24] Lovely to share airspace again with you today. Thank you for listening so much.

[00:21:28] I would love to hear your thoughts and you can SMS them to me via the link in the show notes. Catch you next time. 

Identifying Psychological Safety
Creating Psychological Safety
Leadership and Psychological Safety
Personal Psychological Safety
The Benefits of Safety
The Building Bloacks of Safety
The Stages of Safety
Changing Your Team Culture
Emotional Intelligence and Safety
Supporting Safety Amongst Peers
Burnout Recovery and Safety