If there's one thing I feel that is absent from the Agile Manifesto, it's psychological safety. We have learned in the past 20 years how important this to a team / organisations success.
- Without safety, there is less likely to be 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘁 - Healthy conflict is where people disagree with one another in a constructive way. Disagreement isn't perceived as negative, or emotional, but an opportunity to discuss a topic from an alternative lens.
- Without conflict, we often get homophily and a 𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 - Without diverse thinking, we run the risk of simply behaving the same as everyone else which doesn't enable innovation.
- You may fall foul of 𝗱𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗵𝗶𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗲𝘀 where certain voices drown out the quieter ones - We've all experienced this I'm sure. A louder, more boisterous voice dominates the discussion and for fear of conflict, we stay quiet and don't suggest alternatives
- All of the above can 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 - De-motivated people are less likely to challenge one another or care about the outcome of a teams work. I've always said that if people rant or complain about a situation, this is a positive because it shows me they care enough to raise their concerns. It's the concerns that go unsaid that worry me most as those people may have already emotionally checked out.
𝗢𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗼𝗹𝗯𝗲𝗹𝘁
- 𝗔𝘀𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 - Identify what good & bad examples of conflict looks like to them and experiment accordingly with alternatives. Let the team input into how to improve the lack of healthy conflict, they will be more likely to buy into the experiment this way than if it was pushed upon them.
- 𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 / team agreements to establish values and baseline ways of working which include how you handle conflict. Charters are an excellent way to allow people to share their views and input into how the team wants to work.
- 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝗲𝘅𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲 - Demonstrate self awareness. Share what makes you feel psychologically safe and invite others to do also. Be open and vulnerable here. Your team mates will be more inclined to follow suit if you do.
What approaches do you use to promote psychological safety with those you work with?