Haven’t many of us worked in situations where the team interactions felt stilted, cold, or even toxic? And other teams that are warm, fluid, and fun? Turns out the fun teams are the most effective, out-performing their stiff counterparts. I’ve often wondered what the secret sauce is – why do some teams gel and others grind?
Google turned an analytical team onto the question of what makes for an effective team – after years of surveys and crunching numbers it turns out the difference between the teams is less about “who” is at the table and more about “how” the team treats each other. You don’t need to have super stars on your team; what you need is to make sure that team members feel safe with each other. This is called “psychological safety”.
A group culture with a high degree of psychological safety is “characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’ After all the years and data-crunching that the Google’s People Analytics division spent trying to figure out why some teams stumbled while others soared: after checking IQ, motivation, how well managers communicated and didn’t micromanage, and even how often people ate together … after all that? Seems it boils down to finding ways to let everyone speak, and to feel safe speaking.
Your Grandma probably already told you that, but now that Google tells us this is so, maybe more of us will listen.