INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Google conducted a 5-year study to determine what makes for the most effective teams. The number one factor was the presence of psychological safety – a vital skill for today’s leader to be able to foster.
But what is it? Google defines it as “team members feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.” It’s also helpful to define what psychological safety is, and isn’t. It IS the confidence that candor and vulnerability are welcome. It ISN’T being nice or allowing whining or slacking off.
In the absence of psychological safety, people hold back ideas, are reluctant to ask questions, will shy away from disagreeing with the boss, and won’t challenge status quo. In the presence of it, there’s smarter risk taking, more idea sharing and problems identified and solved, full contributions from everyone, and greater learning and growth.
To foster psychological safety:
1. Issue invites. The key here is to make it harder for people to remain silent than to respond. For example, say things like: “This is new territory for us, so I’m going to need everyone’s input.”
2. Value vulnerability. Role-model it. To illustrate, say things like: “There’s a lot changing, all at once, and it’s complex. I don’t have all the answers, we’re all going to make mistakes.”
3. Respond the right way. In other words, don’t shoot the messenger. Commend versus condemn the opposing point of view. To demonstrate, say things like: “Thanks for bringing that to my attention – I’m sure it wasn’t easy.”
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
If you want to stay on track with a task you’re trying to complete, beware the distraction that is busywork – mindless work unrelated to the task at hand that tricks your brain, giving you the illusion that real work is being done. Such little doses of mundane accomplishment can lead to other, similar small doses, pulling you farther away from the intended task. For example, you have to prepare for a big meeting tomorrow, but you soon find yourself rearranging the apps on your phone! That somehow leads to you tidying the kitchen which leads to organizing your closet.
Progress on that meeting prep: 0, Procrastination: 3.
The key is to catch this distracted behavior, evaluate each task you’re engaging in, and then redirect your effort to the actual work that will get you back on course. Having everything you need to complete the task in front of you can also help keep you from straying.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Keeping with the above regarding staying on track, here’s a simple, but often overlooked strategy for staying on track with a deadline.
Don’t count on your self-imposed deadlines. Research shows it’s far more effective to set deadlines externally – like with your boss or a friend.
Simple, but successful.
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