Thanks for subscribing to the psychological safety newsletter! And thanks for being patient during my little break last week. This week we have an excellent guide by NHS Horizons, libraries and neutrality, bad idea brainstorms, feedback, and more.
Of course, the REALLY big news this week is that you can now show your love of psychological safety with these awesome shiny “Everything Is An Experiment” stickers! Order yours here!
In the Workplace:
This was amazing – an outpouring across the internet in a show of solidarity for the “intern” who accidentally sent a test email to all HBO Max customers. Whilst blaming the intern is not exactly a classy move, what was brilliant was to see how it inspired thousands of people to show up and admit their big SNAFUs, almost like the internet got a little bit more psychologically safe, for a day or so!
A recent Workhuman survey of more than 3,000 U.S. workers reveals a workforce in trouble. Burnout, stress, loneliness and anxiety are not going to go away overnight. If all employees, and especially underrepresented groups, feel more comfortable sharing ideas and bringing their whole selves to contribute, the “next normal” won’t just be a recovery from the crisis but a fresh start. There will never be a better time than now to build psychological safety into your culture.
This is excellent, by Michael Sykes (@Msykes09), an animation describing a monthly audit of ward quality at NHS hospitals. Verbal feedback described as a “whipping” & a “slap”. Ward visits intended “to be persuasive or coercive. It depends on your viewpoint”
And continuing the NHS theme, here’s an EXCELLENTguide to the art of psychological safety in the real world of health and care, by Sasha Karakusevic and the NHS Horizons team.
Theory, Research and Opinion:
“I like to move away from this whole discussion as to ‘should libraries be neutral’ because quite frankly they never really have been neutral,” said Renate Chancellor, chair and associate professor at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in “Confronting the Myth of Neutrality: Academic Libraries, Advocacy, and Free Speech,” – Academic libraries balance freedom of expression with psychological safety.
“DEI is foundational to everything that happens at work, and it’s how companies build a culture of inclusion.” – a great interview with KeyAnna Schmiedl in the Sloan Review: Building the Link Between Learning and Inclusion
This is shocking, but not surprising (unfortunately): nearly a quarter (24%) of surveyed professionals were not open about their identity in their workplace. Hardly reflective of psychologically safe environments, is it? Here’s a very good article on LinkedIn – “How can companies serve their LGBTQ+ employees better?”
I enjoyed this piece by Duena Blomstrom, and its focus on how mindset and ego are some of the largest barriers to adoption of Agile practices and psychological safety.
Things to do and try:
3 Inclusive Actions for Psychological Safety, on the Inclusion Nudges blog, who work to make inclusion the norm everywhere, for everyone. I really like the Bad Idea Brainstorm and the “Dark Horse & Funky Prototype” Brainstorm concepts. Try them out and let me know how they go! How do you provide feedback whilst maintaining psychological safety? There’s no easy answer, and it’s hard to provide feedback to anyone without potentially damaging their self-belief or your relationship with them. Here are some ideas and thoughts on the topic – psychological safety and giving feedback.
This is another good piece by Dr Edmondson. Whilst I’m not sure about the language of the first point of “focus on performance” (I worry it could have the same unintended consequence that Kim Scott’s “Radical Candour” faced and become weaponised or misused by people with poor intent), these four strategies to improve psychological safety in the workplace are an effective way of framing and understanding the challenge.
This week’s poem:
Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Don’t forget – we have a Psychological Safety Community! Read more here: https://www.psychsafety.co.uk/psychological-safety-slack-community/ and sign up here:
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