Psychological Safety #6: Team Topologies & Remote Practices

Training, Workshops, Exercises and Tools

Psychological Safety #6: Team Topologies & Remote Practices

building and maintaining psychological safety for your team


Thanks for subscribing to the psychological safety newsletter! I find it really encouraging and exciting that so many people around the world and in all types and sizes of organisations are working towards creating great, psychologically safe cultures. You rock.

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Work and industry:

Matt Skelton and Manuel Pais wrote the awesome Team Topologies book, which is a great dive into organising teams for fast and effective flow. Here, they have provided a free e-book about organisation dynamics: whilst they mention psychological safety a few times, all of the practices in this book are conducive to great team performance and culture:

A field I didn’t know existed until this week: Implementation Science. In this video, Allison Metz talks about how important relationships are for successful implementation, and discusses the measurement of psychological safety.

This is huge: an entire Raconteur report about Employee Experience and Wellbeing, with a particular focus on virtual and remote work. Some great pieces in this about good practice, research, and psychological safety.

Remote teams – here’s a great piece by Melissa Daimler on remote team practices.
And here’s my own piece that goes further into the practices useful in building psychological safety in remote and virtual teams

And this is absolute gold for anyone who works in, supports or leads teams – The Open Practice Library: An open source collection of practices and capabilities that you will find super useful, whatever team you work in (and you can contribute to as well):

Health and Medicine:

Ok, it’s not *human health*, but here’s a piece about veterinary practices and creating psychological safety for vets and nurses, in part to assist with attracting and retaining people in the industry. 


Resilience Engineering is a multi-disciplinary field of applied research that spans systems thinking, safety, ergonomics, behavioural psychology and more. In this talk at Continuous Lifecycle London in May, I’ll be talking about resilience engineering and how psychological safety is a fundamental component of organisational resilience:

Here’s the Youtube recording of a panel discussion I attended last week with Godel Technologies and FootAsylum to talk about high performance technology teams and psychological safety. Some awesome Q&A towards the end:

You’ll see I mention a link to book a 30-minute 1-1 session in this talk, so if you’d like to take advantage of that and have a chat about psychological safety, team performance, or frankly anything else you’re interested in, you can do so here: 

Theory and practice:

I talk a lot about “personal READMEs” and how powerful they can be in building psychological safety through breaking the Golden Rule and treating people how *they* want to be treated. Here’s a great article about the use of manager / personal READMEs, and the dangers of using them poorly. 

You have 12 minutes to listen to Dr Amy Edmondson, right? This is a superb TEDx short podcast about leading in a crisis and fostering the psychological safety to deal with change and upheaval:

Another short. This time it’s a video from BBC Reel: One of the key underrated skills that most people think they can master is providing critical feedback and communicating effectively in thorny situations. A career coach, a choreographer, a chef and a dragon boat captain offer advice and collaborative methods to enable people to better express their thoughts to their peers.
(Video by Lucie McCormick, Animation by Andi Concha & Léon Moh-Cah)

Psychological safety and norm clarity in software engineering teams – this paper shows that both psychological safety and clarity of team norms are predictors of performance. My only criticism is that these two factors are not independent, so comparing the two could be a flawed approach.
(As always, if you cannot access a paper, please contact the authors)

This week’s poem:

This week in the UK we enjoyed the warmest March day for 53 years, and it was glorious. In celebration of that, here’s The Summer Day by Mary Oliver:

As always, check out, for more resources and articles. 
Read previous newsletters here.

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