As a leader, you have no doubt heard it said that your people are your greatest asset… but that is not true.
Your people at their most engaged are your greatest asset.
Your team is the hands and feet of your organization, as well as its eyes and ears. They represent the traction toward your company’s strategic vision, and they offer a unique perspective about the organization’s day-to-day.
Equipment ages and breaks down; software goes out of date and needs replacing; but when your people lean in, they not only bring insight to the table you cannot get anywhere else… they can only increase in their capacity to contribute.
Needless to say, your team is well worth taking care of!
Does your team have the number-one thing they need in order to function at their peak?
According to one major study at Google, major factors for high-performing teams included team dependability, structure, clarity, and meaning and impact of work… but the most crucial thing teams needed?
More than anything else, this study found that teams must feel confident experimenting, innovating, and taking risks without fear of repercussion for mistakes.
Upon reflection, it makes sense. Nothing great is gained without risk, and history’s most notable accomplishments are often the end of a long line of failures.
Team members who feel they will be punished for mistakes will not take risks, and things will stay stagnant; teams who feel safe enough to take those risks will uncover new solutions and spearhead growth.
So I must ask again: does your team feel safe psychologically? Are they engaged and innovating or do they feel more pressure to just get by?
If you are unsure, here are some things that same study suggests you can do to create psychological safety.
Show your team you are invested.
As people, we are always communicating, even if we are not speaking. All of our actions, inactions, and inflections send a message. Even when we do not mean to, we are actively setting the tone for our team.
If your team sees that you are checked out – or if they think that you are checked out – they will begin to disengage.
When meeting with your team or a member of your team, give them your full attention. Remove anything that might distract you so that you can be fully present and communicate to your team that you are all-in.
Involve them in your decisions.
Many, if not all, of the decisions you make affect your team – naturally, they should understand the options you are considering and how they will impact the team and the organization.
Once you’ve made the decision, let them know why you have made the decision and how you considered their feedback before deciding.
When you involve your team in the whole decision-making process, they not only see how you value them, but you also encourage them to engage in the company’s grander vision.
Avoid placing the blame.
I’m sure I do not need to tell you that blame is a morale killer! But even the implication of blame can discourage employees from contributing.
This is not to say that concerns can go unacknowledged. Instead of highlighting the issue, place more emphasis on the solution, and ensure everyone understands how to move forward in efficiency.
Paul Santagata, Google’s Head of Industry, says that there is no team without trust. When your team believes that you are ultimately their supporter, they will serve your organization more than a hundred disengaged teams.
If you are looking for more psychological safety solutions, join me and my colleague Madalina Ghinescu this coming Monday, 21 March, for Leading on Mondays. We will be diving into this rarely touched on but vitally important facet of team leadership.
Click here to join us on Monday at 12 PM CET (click “Attend” to get notified when we go live!).
That’s all for now.
Until next time,
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