In Part 2 of this series, I examined simple and practical principles to nourish the benefits of creating Psychological Safe teams. Psychological safety as a focus increases participation by integrating different voices and perspectives, thus improving collaboration. To dive deeper into the ways to structure this as the norm in your business takes concerted effort and continual check-ins.
We have all sadly been privy to teams that practice low psychological safe protocols. In the world of aesthetics it is easy to spot:
- Team members who go about their work silently and self-censoring
- Team members who fear being ridiculed, punished or fired when something goes imperfectly
- Team members who do as they are told, unable to share their opinions or ideas
- Team members who bottle up their emotions, ideas or feelings.
- Team members who feel ignored
- Team members who avoid conflict at all costs
- Team members who quietly are overlooked over the voices of more vocal voices
To find out if your team feels psychologically safe, Amy Edmondson suggested these seven questions to help you measure the psychological safety of your team:
1) If you make a mistake on this team, is it often held against you?
2) Are members of this team able to bring up problems and tough issues?
3) Do people on this team sometimes reject others for thinking differently?
4) Is it safe to take a risk on this team?
5) Is it difficult to ask other members of this team for help?
6) Would anyone on this team deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts?
7) When working with members of this team, are my unique skills and talents valued and utilized?
I am certain when it comes to the world of aesthetics there are frightening examples of times team members do not feel safe. And guess what: if your team doesn’t feel psychologically safe, your clients won’t either.
To structure a Safe Team environment, you will practice ongoing:
Ask open-ended questions about how they feel a procedure went or if they wish to learn a new technique or what they hope to improve skills with.
People sharing their opinions and ideas confidently
Ask if your team can think of ways to solve problems and if they have ideas. Then listen and appreciate their input! Genuinely consider ideas and debate the “how could we make that happen” together.
Fearless behaviour and mindset
Believe in your team and give them opportunities to practice and learn in a safe way with secured support and leadership.
Emotions are welcome and acknowledged.
Having tissues or an opportunity to vent shows you are available to allow your team to express their frustrations, self-criticism and problems in a constructive way.
Team members solve conflicts productively.
Don’t let stuff sit and fester! Issues and conflicts will arise and team members who experience a safe environment to share their opinions and voice their concerns provide relief and solutions rather than gossip and toxicity.
Conversational turn-taking–leaders speak last.
As the medical director or owner, whether it be with a team member or a client, try to enhance listening and minimize speaking. This doesn’t mean you never speak but in a supportive and responsive manner shows leadership rather than micro-managing, a necessary part of creating psychological safety with your team.
It takes great bravery to face the fact that your team may not feel as Psychologically Safe as you may have thought. It is hard work but it is doable with a humble and dedicated mindset!
If you are ready to create the structure and build a Psychologically Safe team, refer to my blog on Practical Ways in Aesthetics to Create a Fearless Culture.