Leading innovation: Psychological safety (week 9)
To lead innovation with psychological safety, nurture an agreed-upon setting that allows everyone to share their ideas without fear of retribution.
The conventional view has been that creating an environment where people feel psychologically safe is conveyed from the top down. Information is formal, corporate in tone, and tightly controlled, Employees are passive consumers of information.
A fresh approach:
In the new era, psychological safety is established through shared purpose, shared values, and agreed upon rules of engagement allowing everyone to share their ideas without fear of retribution. Leaders talk with employees not to them, and the culture fosters back-and-forth interaction. Leaders relinquish a measure of control over content, and employees actively participate in organizational messaging
Bring it to life:
- Invite participation by showing you care and want to hear from others.
- Respond to challenges, mistakes, or other issues in encouraging ways, such as by asking what is needed and offering to help vs. punishment, which discourages people from being honest or coming forward
- Emphasize listening to your employees rather than just speaking to them.
- Encourage employees to engage in a bottom-up exchange of ideas and to act as brand ambassadors and thought leaders
- Establish a clear agenda to inform all communication and carefully explain the agenda to employees
- Admit to mistakes and failures, and seek to learn from them
- Show humility, with curiosity, interest and fallibility
- Provide context for your team’s work—how complex, what they are trying to do, what’s needed from them, so they understand the journey
- Create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work
Next week: Question Everything.
Innovation solutions from Paradox Strategies
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