Good spot from Johnnie Moore on the power dynamics of safety in groups. Hint: it comes from attending to rank, not cohesiveness:
Nancy Dixon writes about the conditions that favour good quality conversations in organisations. She uses the term psychological safety to describe the conditions that allow people to take risks in conversations. She distinguishes that safety from cohesiveness (for which it could be mistaken). The latter may feel safe but really sets everyone up for groupthink. The safety Nancy talks about allows challenging things to be said.
The essential precondition for that kind of safety is largely to do with power differences…
And from the paper he links to:
For a team to be effective and competitive it must be engaged in learning behaviors that are too often perceived as risky by members of the team. To take that risk, team members need to feel psychologically safe, that is, “have a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish members for speaking up.” The actions that help to bring about collective sensemaking are:
– reducing the power differential between leaders and members
– teams taking the time to reflect together on a regular basis about their actions, results, concerns, and innovative new ideas
– members actively providing support for each other in meetings
– holding small group discussions about appreciative topics to build relationships and enhance the knowledge of others’ competence
– engaging in shared experiences that serve as a reference point for meaning.