Creativity, Leadership and Psychological Safety

We want to make good relationships with others, and want to lead people well. This applies not only to an organization, but also small groups including families.

You may have heard about Google’s research done a few years back, interviewing hundreds of executives, managers and team members, where ‘psychological safety’ was found to be the most important factor in the team effectiveness. (Inc.com)

When ‘Psychological safety’ is promoted in a team, an individual feels safe to take risks, i.e. sharing new ideas, making mistakes, and asking questions, without having fear of being looked at as ignorant, incompetent, or disruptive. It is an environment where team members feel comfortable to be true to themselves, become creative, and feel free to put positive energy towards one’s inner child of playfulness.

A few of our counsellors have talked about importance of play for both children and adults. (Oct.,2020 by R. Leveson,  Sept. 2020 by I. Ong.) Play is a creative process in which one’s yet to be discovered talents, curiosity, and capacities flourish. It is the source of human development.

As a leader of a team, family or an organization, you would want your members to be effective; for instance, you may want them to think, and perform better, to be in better relationships with others, to increase sales, and to be enthusiastic about developing new products. Therefore, it is essential for you to create an environment to secure members’ psychological safety.’  Think of the place where you feel comfortable voicing out your mind.  It may be where (1) curiosity is encouraged, (2) there is healthy debate (without blame), (3) failure is taken as a sign of growth, and (4) asking for help when needed is regarded as a strength rather than a sign of weakness.

Those are the important factors to make a good team or family. Children need this ‘psychological safety’ to be successful members of a family, community, and school. We can ask ourselves as parents or leaders of a group: are we encouraging play and creativity? Listening to members’ opinions without scolding or judging? Celebrating members’ failures, and providing support when they ask for help? If the answers to these questions are “yes,” we know we are building a good team!

Written by:
Rie Miura

Counsellor
Masters in Social Work

SACAC Counselling

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