Welcome new ideas with psychological security

In some workplaces, it feels safest to keep quiet about one’s ideas or concerns. But it hinders innovation. Read here how to get the dialogue going and create psycological security, so that it is safe to go to work while at the same time both the employees and the organisation develop.

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Do you encourage employees to share their ideas and concerns? And do they do it? If you do not have a culture where it is safe to share ideas, doubts, worries and thoughts – no one wins.

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Try to think back to the last time you consciously or unconsciously failed to share an idea or ask questions to a task, even though you knew you could brought new knowledge to the task at hand. What happened? Did you succeed? Could you have succeeded even better or faster?

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Communication – the short path to success

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Pulling the silence card has become easier in recent times. Distance often affects our way of communicating with each other in a negative direction. We have turned down the communication to save time, avoid misunderstandings due to the technique, etc. This despite the fact that talking together is often a way to make sure we feel comfortable saying what we have on our minds.

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Ingredients for creating the open and transparent dialogue are that you as a leader have the courage to say when there is something you do not know, as well as to listen and ask curiously with a look ahead.

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It may be tempting to act on the first and best input you get, but give yourself time to stay in the dialogue and try to shed light on it from several angles. Acting fast is not always the shortest path to success. Listening and creating common understanding can be a stronger way.

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Show direction as a leader

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When others can feel you, when you pass on new knowledge and learning, etc., then not only do you show confidence, you also create psychological security. It benefits both the employees and yourself when, for example, you ask for help or acknowledge your mistakes.

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By creating the feeling of security around sharing knowledge and ideas, you can go from siliently ignoring future consequences to proactively innovating. There will still be many mistakes and detours, but you can learn from them by talking about them and using them in relation to your further work.

When people do not speak up, it can become a threat to innovation and development. When it is safe to share, it creates new opportunities.

Can you speak with confidence in your team?

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You can learn more about how confident your team is by assessing these issues. For example, first answer on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 strongly agrees and 7 strongly disagrees. Then you can justify your cross. What influenced the result and that you pur your cross, for example, on 3? And what does it take to move your cross or maintain the current level?

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Note that three of the questions are marked with O for opposite. They are worded in such a way that if you use the 7-scale above, a cross in 7 will equal high security. For example, in question 1, this will mean that mistakes are never used against me.

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Questions:

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  1. If you make mistakes in this team, it will often be used against you. (O)
  2. Members of this team are able to talk about problems and difficult issues.
  3. Members of this team sometimes exclude others for being different. (O)
  4. It is safe to run a risk in this team.
  5. It feels difficult to ask other team members for help. (O)
  6. No one on this team will act consciously in a way that undermines my efforts.
  7. When I work with members of this team, they appreciate and leverage my special skills and talents. *

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You can fill in the answers yourself and look at where you can strengthen the security of your team. The questions and especially the employees’ answers are also a possible way to work together on security in your team. Creating new things while also learning is done by making it safe to express oneself.

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* The questions are from Amy C. Edmondson’s research and have since been tested many times. Read more in the book “The Fearless Organization” by the same author.

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This blog post was first published on Lederweb.dk. (in Danish)

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Want to know more?

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If you would like to work more on how to create psychological security, please feel free to contact me for a meeting.

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