Recommended Resources & Inspiration

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Psychological Safety Weekly Newsletter
Weekly roundup of articles from all over. Curated by @Tom_Geraghty.

Google’s ReWork Guide: Understand Team Effectiveness
Google’s guide to fostering psychological safety.  Action steps and a customizable worksheet.

A Guide to Psychological Safety
Learner Lab Guide to creating psychological safety.

The Neuroscience of Psychological Safety
From the NeuroLeadership Institute

Podcasts and Videos

The Science of Failing Well

Amy talks Intelligent failure on the Forbes main stage

It’s OK to fail, but you have to do it right

Amy talks with Adi Ignatius of Harvard Business Review

Is it safe to speak up at work?
Amy talks with Adam Grant.

Creating psychological safety in the workplace
Amy talks with editors of Harvard Business Review. 

Creating psychological safety in the workplace
Amy talks with editors of Harvard Business Review. 

How to Lead When the Future is Uncertain
Amy talks with Mark Crowley of Lead from the Heart.

From Amy’s Psychology Today Blog

All in This Together? Grappling with the Unequal Effects of Covid-19 

The Role of Psychological Safety in Diversity and Inclusion

A Fly on the Wall in a Fearless Organization: What Psychological Safety Sounds Like

How to Lead When You’re Not the Boss

Today’s leaders must learn to think like scientists

Today’s leaders must learn to think like scientists. 

This does not mean you pick up a pipette and stop being a manager, dedicated to creating value for customers. Instead, thinking like a scientist means understanding that your job is to navigate uncertainty with curiosity and passion – so as to engage others in the inherently collaborative process of progress and discovery through which today’s knowledge work gets done. 

Most managers are unaware of the quiet hold that industrial-era logic has on their thinking. They’re unaware of, or spend little time reflecting on, the deeply-rooted belief that they’re supposed to have the answers, control what others do, and be intolerant of failure. They fail to recognize the role of creativity in solving the many problems that invariably come up. This mindset can make it seem that keeping people a little bit afraid of you will help ensure that they hit their targets. But unfortunately, fear mostly just means that managers will be kept in the dark, unaware of what’s really going on. They are more likely to find themselves in a state of happy ignorance than in a state of helping to make sense of what’s going on and helping people solve the problems that inevitably occur. 

 When you actively shift your thinking to see your role as helping others find answers by conducting smart experiments and learning from what happens, other helpful leadership behaviors follow. These allow you build the psychological safety people need to team up, experiment, and solve problems.

 The bottom line is this: In today’s complex, uncertain world, the traditional management logic that worked so well for top-down control of predictable processes is not only inadequate, it’s actually destructive to performance.

So pull up a chair alongside your favorite scientist and really take in the way she or he thinks. It’s instructive, I promise. I do it every day.

Psychological Safety Does Not Equal “Anything Goes”

A common misperception about psychological safety is that it means lowering standards, giving up on accountability, or “wrapping teams in cotton wool,” as Dan Cable of London Business School puts it.

I have spilled a great deal of ink correcting this notion. Being a social scientist, I also love a good 2 x 2 matrix. Here’s mine, brought to life by Tanmay Vora, sketchnote artist supreme.

Clearly, the place to be is the upper right quadrant, where people are not afraid to have the difficult conversations that bring real progress. Those conversations flow upward as well as downward, in an atmosphere of respect that also flows both ways.

Glad that’s settled, right?

Just kidding… it’s a very sticky misperception that is no doubt here to stay.