Bob: “Peter brought up the video team thrashing, eh?”
Me (Wendy): “Yes. We initially started talking about the upcoming facilitation workshop, but it led to that and psychological safety.”
Bob: “So, did he understand what it means?”
Me: “No, but I did give him the definition – it’s the freedom to express ideas and opinions freely without the fear of humiliation or retribution.”
Bob: “Good. So, what’s the context we need to share with Peter so that we set up the stage correctly with him when we have the conversation?”
Me: “I managed to be in one of their meetings and saw some behaviors that were very much red flags. For one, the team lead keeps throwing his title around whenever he tries to make a point. He always says something like, “well, since I’ve been doing this a long time and team lead…””
Bob: “Oh boy! That’s a sure way to kill psychological safety. Let’s list what would happen with low or no psychological safety and see how many items this video production team has on that list.”
Me: “Good idea. So, without psychological safety, people stop asking questions. They stop admitting weaknesses or mistakes. They stop offering new ideas. They refrain from thinking critically and accept the status quo. I think that just about describes the video production team!”
Bob: “Yes! And what managers don’t realize when they’ve broken that psychological safety barrier is that people start to disengage. They want to stay under the radar to protect themselves. I’ve seen organizations where people just do the bare minimum to survive, not create waves, and blend into the background. BTW, this is happening now in a lot of companies. It’s called “Quiet Quitting.” In the end, some of your best employees will become flight risks. And if they leave, well, you now have a bigger problem of having to recruit someone, possibly train them. I’ve seen some companies where a certain position gets advertised every few months because of the lack of psychological safety.”
Me: “Completely agree! But with psychological safety, people will support each other. They are willing to show vulnerability, suggest new ideas, flag sensitive issues, admit mistakes, and debate constructively. That’s how we get engaging teams, and that’s how teams can start to become high-performing.”
Bob: “Indeed! Some management think that they need to rule with fear, that it’s good for employees to have some fear because fear will propel people to work harder and better. What they don’t understand is that management by fear only gives the illusion that goals are being met. In reality, it stifles innovation, creativity, and collaboration needed to respond to this complex and rapidly changing world.”
In the meantime, you can see all the articles I’ve written on the subject on meetings.
Read the rest of Wendy’s story here:
- Part 1: Do we have to do video calls? Aren’t there better ways to do things?
- Part 2: What meetings can we get rid of? Aren’t there better ways to do things?
- Part 3: What other meetings can we remove? What else can we cut from our calendars?
- Part 4: Replacing meetings to gain more time on your calendar to be productive
- Part 5: How to recognize different meeting types to increase your productivity?
- Part 6: Evolve your meetings beyond agendas and action items to achieve better outcomes
- Part 7: Facilitate Your Remote Control to Improve Your Meetings and Collaborations
- Part 8: Saying No to FOMO – How to treat meetings with intentionality
- Part 9: Why meeting agenda is passé, and what you can do to improve them
- Part 10: Invest in the art of meeting invitations to have better meetings
- Part 11: Remote Facilitation Magic: Things to do before a meeting to have better meetings
- Part 12: How to easily set the stage for more successful meetings
- Part 13: Want to be a meeting host? Up-level your facilitation skills
- Part 14: Do you want to liberate your meetings from staid agendas?
- Part 15: Want to know how to stand out from the typical meetings? Change the way you end!
- Part 16: Successful meeting cultures: why you don’t want to break the psychological safety barrier
- Part 17: How to recognize the signs of lack of psychological safety in your teams
- Part 18: Want to have better meetings? Start practicing psychological safety
- Part 19: How to CLEARly have psychological safety at meetings