Psychological safety is about being part of a team and knowing that you can share ideas and information without fear. Psychological safety isn’t the avoidance of conflict, rather it is knowing that we can share information inside a team instead of focusing on protecting ourselves.
It comes from the work of Amy Edmondson, who drew on earlier material from Edgar Schein. Amy used a survey to test a team’s level of safety:
- If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.
- Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
- People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
- It is safe to take a risk on this team.
- It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.
- No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
- Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.
People answer on a scale of Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree. Once the survey has been run, the team can use the data to help themselves see how they might evolve.
Timothy Clark – 2020 – has extended the concept to four levels: included; safe environment to learn; safe to contribute; safe to challenge the status quo.
- The Epic Guide to Psychological Safety
- Of Course Psychological Safety…But How?
- The Psychological Safety Game
- Psychological Safety – a report on how one company uses the concept
- Psychological Safety Canvas
- Psychological Safety: High-Performing Teams
- Psychological Safety Made Simple — An Intro Guide
- Why Psychological Safety Improves The Effectiveness Of Your Team – What it is and what it isn’t, what the science says, and how high psychological safety probably results in more conflicts
- The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth Hardcover by Amy C. Edmondson
- Turn the Ship Around ! A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders Hardcover by L. David Marquet. (An example of where a leader created a safe environment and changed how a team worked)
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.
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