Setting up a team level “People Practice” focused on Psychological Safety and the actions needed to increase it is undoubtedly hard work. So hats off to all the team leaders and all the team members out there who are along on this journey in particular at a time like this when it’s some times so much easier to focus on non-challenging tasks.
There are of course, no shortcuts and no templates, as every team has a different dynamic but as usual, we share what we’ve learned. As promised yesterday, today’s video focuses on tips regarding what an Emotionally Intelligent Team Leader can do when using the new feature and setting this “Team Action”.
Again, ensuring that the goal is clear, challenging, measurable, time based and focused on feedback is incredibly important and that the team leader can double-check that there’s that clarity and relevance is crucial or the exercise of setting a Team Action together, will not be as effective as we need it to be. By the same token, we remind leaders to use this as an anti-command-and-control personal challenge despite how it requires them to also oversee the formulation. In other words, they are to avoid dictating or mandating at any cost but still need to guide and inspire when writing the Team’s Action. A hard balance to strike but one of the bases of Leadership 2.0
We use two examples from teams we have worked with who encountered a drop in their “Learning/Curiosity” or in their “Engagement” as Psychological Safety categories and what were some of the ideas they used to improve on those particular aspects starting with their formulation in the Team Action space.
In terms of Learning, the solution revolves around getting or strengthening a culture of sharing. This involves setting it up correctly so that it doesn’t imply extra pressure for the participants and then transforming sharing into a habit that’s devoid of impression management and fear of all kinds. Their Team Action for two sprints was along the lines of “We will create the space and liberty to share and enjoy learning.” and it helped them clarify the “interaction contracts” and the remote work tools to do that.
When it comes to Engagement, one of the most effective exercises we’ve seen has been from a team that decided to design their own team-building exercises in place of taking any off the shelf. Their Team Action was: “Have a blue-sky design sprint for team-building exercises” and they came up with some remarkable ideas that were particular to them and had seen their Morale category go up at the end of a month.
Neither of the above is prescriptive but both doable so give them a whirl if you feel your team needs them, but beyond the contents of the box, i.e. what you write in the Team Action, focus on understanding the value of writing them together and agreeing to do the work your People Practice needs together, as one, as a real team as that’s half the battle.
Stay Psychologically Safe to stay productive and sane!