"If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking." R Buckminster Fuller
What is psychological safety?
Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson describes psychological safety as "a climate in which people are comfortable expressing and being themselves.”
The Google Aristotle project described psychological safety as feeling safe to be vulnerable or take risks in front of team members.
Why is psychological safety important?
Google, Project Aristotle, discovered five components found in high-performing teams:
Of the five, psychological safety was by far the most important and underpinned the other four.
Much of the research conducted into psychological safety found that it leads to:
How do you measure psychological safety?
Psychological safety can be measured using Edmundson's 7 item scale using either a seven or five point Likert scale (from strongly agree to strongly disagree):
How can you improve psychological safety?
The ProSocial matrix, created by Dr. Kevin Polk, a clinical psychologist, is a tool designed to help members of groups improve psychological safety and work better together.
It has been used on a globally diverse range of groups such as government agencies, schools, companies, and communities.
This globally proven framework based on Nobel Prize winner, Elinor Ostrom’s eight design principles for successful groups, enables teams to understand and commit to behaviours that work for achieving the shared purposes of the organisation.
The ProSocial Matrix starts with taking the group through the psychological flexibility matrix, an interactive diagram explaining the processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Training (ACT) designed to increase psychological flexibility and valued living by helping people to notice:
While the ACT matrix focuses on an individual’s behaviour in the context of the individual’s values, the ProSocial Matrix focuses on the group behaviours in the context of the groups shared purpose. The second stage is to take the group through the ProSocial Matrix. This time the group use the matrix to identify:
Benefits of using the ProSocial Matrix with teams include:
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