How to Lead When You’re Not the Boss

Be the change you want to see at work.

I am often asked: How do you cultivate psychological safety on your team when you’re not the boss?

If you’ve read the latest thinking on management practices, you have encountered the term “psychological safety.” In a nutshell, it means that employees feel able, and even obliged, to speak up without fear of reprisal. It’s been identified in research (by me, others, and a high-profile study at Google) as the vital characteristic underpinning the highest-functioning teams.

A Fly on the Wall in a Fearless Organization

What does psychological safety sound like?

The trickiest part of organizational change is translating the big idea into the little interactions that happen hundreds or even thousands of times a day. What are team members actually saying to one another in situations both small and large, both ordinary and earth-shattering?